Again considered in Committee.
[Mr. JAMES HOPE in the Chair.]
Question again proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding 2198,956, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of pay-meat during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1923, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of His Majesty's Secretary of State for the Home Department and Subordinate Offices."
I beg, to move, "That Item A (Salaries, wages, and allowances) be reduced by £1,000 in respect of the salary of the Secretary of State."When I was interrupted I was calling attention to the fact that the Chief of the Intelligence Department of Scotland Yard no longer has direct access to Ministers, and that the reports which he makes pass through several hands before they reach the Home Secretary and the Cabinet. The Home Secretary made a statement Lo the House the other day, the general tone of which was that he had received no report of a warning that the life of Sir Henry Wilson was threatened. I desire to ask the right hon. Gentleman a very definite question. Did he, or did he not, receive any document referring to an attempt that might he made against the life of Sir Henry Wilson? I was aware of the fact that all reports did not reach the Home Secretary, and for that reason on Friday last I asked a supplementary question of the Lord Privy Seal, after he had announced that, the Government had taken all measures for the protection of life and property and for general security in London and elsewhere. I asked the Lord Privy Seal if the Government would call for all reports and take action on such of them as might justify action. I was careful to say "all reports," because that is really the essence of the matter. I wish to go a little further into this tragic occasion. I am not trying to make any capital out of the emotion we all feel, but to arrive, if I can, at some explanation of the facts which led to the assassination of Sir Henry Wilson when he was not under any protection whatever. The Home Secretary stated that some weeks previously to the 22nd June police protection had been withdrawn from all Ministers except the Chief Secretary for Ireland. I ask the Home Secretary if he will be precise and say on what date that protection was withdrawn?
I will give that date. I explained that my memory had been at fault when I answered the question, and I had had no time to look it up. It. was the 23rd January.
There was no police protection of any Minister, except the Chief Secretary for Ireland, between the 23rd January and the 22nd June?
With the exception of about three days, during which the Colonial Secretary, in consequence of a suggested threat, and I myself, in consequence of a similar threat, were under protection. With that exception there was no police protection during the period named.
I am much obliged to the Home Secretary for making that statement. We have all observed that for some considerable period barriers have been erected in Downing Street. A noticeable number of police have been guarding those barriers, and there have generally been some plain clothes men in addition. I, and the majority of hon. Members, pass constantly down Whitehall every week, and we see that state of things prevailing. I think the Home Secretary would make a further exception and say that there is special police protection given to Downing Street by the barriers erected there.
The right hon. Gentleman did not state that the other day. I want to ask another question with regard to the release of all prisoners who were convicted during last year of violent assaults upon the police, and, in some cases, of shooting. Will he give definitely the date when that release took place? No doubt this Debate will go on for a little time, and so the information can be obtained. Does the Home Secretary deny that he received any warning whatsoever that the life of Sir Henry Wilson was threatened? If he did not receive such a warning, clearly there is something wrong. My information is that more than one warning was given. In any remarks which I may make I am not in any way blaming the police, or those who carry out the police work, either as executive officers or in the Intelligence Branch. I believe they are entirely loyal, and that they are diligent and efficient. It is important, however, that we should ascertain how it is that there has been this deplorable failure in the information reaching the Minister responsible for the safety of life in this country and in London.If the police are not efficient, as I have said I believe they are, then the Home Secretary is responsible for that inefficiency in the organisation. If they are efficient, if they had this information, and if it has not reached him, then it is absolutely necessary to explore the reason why it did not reach the right hon. Gentleman. There is clearly something very wrong, and I therefore press these questions with all the force at my command. I hope he will.be able to give such replies as will entirely clear up what is at present a mystery to most of us.
Vice-Admiral Sir R. HALL
During the Debate on Monday the Home Secretary quoted from a letter or report from Sir Basil Thomson of the 4th October. The right hon. Gentleman quoted him as saying:
The Home Secretary added that he further said that the question should be raised again in a month. Sir Basil Thomson is in no position to defend himself, but it is only fair that another side of the question should be put forward. Sir Basil Thomson, when he made the report that he did, showed an extraordinary accuracy in his forecast. Since 4th October to 22nd June so far as I know no outrages had taken place on public or prominent persons, but since 4th October—and it will surely be within the recollection of the Committee—different circumstances had arisen. A new personality had joined this House, a great personality who took a great part in the present state of politics, and felt strongly on one particular subject. I suggest it would have been fairer to a great public servant like Sir Basil Thomson, if the Home Secretary, after quoting his opinion of 4th October, had been able to assure the Committee that he had again consulted him in view of the changed circumstances, and the advent of a new personality. Had he done so he might have received advice from an officer whose advice and forecast had been proved to be extraordinarily accurate. As regards the Intelligence Service I, for one, do not propose to proceed into any details, but just to confine my remarks to the Secret Service, the essence of which is secrecy. But there are con siderations which this Committee, I think, might turn over in their mind for a minute or two. After all, we do pay a fairly large sum for our Secret Service, and I say that it is an extraordinarily able, well-conducted, and reliable Service. We listened on Monday to the defence of the Home Secretary, the burden of whose argument was that he could not have known what was likely to take place in respect to prominent persons: he had no information. There are two points which arise here. If he had no information it is a very extraordinary thing. May I point out to the Committee that the tragic event which took place last week was carried out by two men, one of them in the Public Service, living quietly in London, apparently, and with no connection, so far as we can see, with anyone outside this country. I suggest that the first thing that that brings to one's mind is that these two men must have been in close touch, and under the control of a local centre. Otherwise I fail to see how the dastardly outrage could have been carried out. If there was a local centre with powerful control of, apparently, two respectable men, our Secret Service ought to have known of it. They must have known something of it. There must have been some information in the office on the night of the outrage. A very remarkable process was carried out. Many houses raided, documents were seized, and some persons arrested. Is this Committee to understand that between the murder of the late Field-Marshal and the time of the raids that that information was received? That is a question which the Committee is entitled to ask. If that information was not received between those times, then it was in possession of the Home Secretary prior to the murder; and if prior to the murder why was it not acted upon, and did it require the loss of a valuable life to take action? This point I am putting to the Committee is quite vital to the Service. We may rightly draw the conclusion that this information on which the raids were based was in possession of the Home Office or Scotland Yard on the night of the murder. If that was so, how are we to reconcile that with the statement that the Home Office had no information? A situation like this makes one begin to doubt about the organisation of the Secret Service—no, not the organisation of the Service, but of the office, and whether or not it is as good as it ought to be. There must be some hiatus. There must be some hand which controls the use of that information and which pre- vented it being used. Whose was the hand which stopped the information being used? We saw how vital it was on the night of the murder, and not be-fore! To all these questions this Committee is entitled to have an answer. I do not propose to deal further with that, but I have one final remark to make. The man responsible for the safety of property and life in this country is the Home Secretary. In the defence put forward on Monday shelter was taken beneath the cloak of Sir Basil Thomson, a cloak which I venture to say the right hon. Gentleman had no right to use. We listened to the defence of the Home Secretary put forward by the Colonial Secretary, the defence against charges which have never been levelled on the Floor of this House, but were charges and insinuations which had only appeared in the public Press so far as I know. The important fact to my mind is this: the Colonial Secretary in his defence of the charges levelled in the public Press did not refer to one charge which stated that on the night. of the murder, when the public had the right to expect that the officer of the Government responsible for life and property in this country would be closely associated with officers attending to their duty in a matter of this sort, he was seen in Court dress at a private party. I do not wonder the Colonial Secretary did not attempt to deal with that matter. I want again to emphasise the hiatus between our wonderful police organisation and executive action."If the Irish negotiations do not break down we might certainly reduce protection with safety."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th June, 1922; col. 1777, Vol. 155.]
The hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just resumed his seat has some claim to speak on the subject of naval intelligence, especially seeing that during the War he conducted a great Department with conspicuous ability. May I, however, be allowed to say that he has not either shown the same ability or good taste in the speech which he has just delivered to the House. Life in this House would be found to be intolerable if the private functions which hon. and right hon. Gentleman attend at various times are to be a matter, not only for discussion in the Press, but in the House. I think it was altogether unworthy of the hon. and gallant Admiral to make, in which was otherwise a speech of quite legitimate criticism, a reference to the Home Secretary in his private capacity, to which, I believe, the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary has a complete answer.I think it is very unfortunate and regrettable that the terrible tragedy which occurred on Thursday of last week should be employed as party capital in this House, or that any attempt should be made to fasten upon the shoulders of the Home Secretary the responsibility for that dreadful event. We know in this House that the Home Office is always peculiarly liable to attack. The administration of justice is always open to attack, and my right hon. Friend has not been an exception in this respect to his predecessors in office. Knowing, as Members of Parliament, these facts regarding the Home Office, it ought to make us all the more careful about accepting out ideas from the Press, which on various matters becomes more or less hysterical. I protest most vehemently against the attacks, upon the Home Secretary in this House-and in the Press, and I am quite at a loss either to understand or to appreciate them. It is not the first time that personal hosility to my knowledge has been shown in this House.
Is the hon. Gentleman in order imputing motives to hon. Members of this House?
Nothing has been said that is out of order.
I am not imputing motives, I am only attempting to state the facts to the Committee. This is not the first evidence we have had of this hostility to the Home Secretary in this House. An old Debate has been resurrected to-night both by my hon. Friend and by the hon. and gallant Vice-Admiral. Let us take our minds back to that Debate. It had reference to the retirement of Sir Basil Thomson. I remember distinctly that the Home Secretary on that occasion proved conclusively that his critics had based their case upon a distortion of facts. That night he completely vindicated his position before the House.A few weeks ago we had another Press and Parliamentary campaign, because the right hon. and learned Gentleman had decided to commit Ronald True to a criminal lunatic asylum. Then again he proved that the case of the critics rested upon an abyssmal ignorance of the law of the country. It is time these attacks ceased and that we should observe some sort of relevance in our criticism of a Minister of the Crown. I wonder whether his critics in this House to-night realise how serious is the task and how momentous is the responsibility of the right hon. Gentleman. Has it ever occurred to them—I am amazed to find that the hon. and gallant Admiral does not realise this fact—what ceaseless care he has to give to the protection of life and property in this country.
Sir R. HALL
That is his duty.
I know it is his duty, but he has carried it out. The best proof of that fact is the practical immunity which this country enjoys as a result of the precautionary and preventive measures taken by the Home Secretary. I think it most unfair that that fact is not recognised by the critics of the Home Office. I have no hesitation in saying that if the history of the Home Secretary's administration during a time of unexampled difficulty and unrest could be written, beginning if you like with the difficulties of the police strike itself, we in this House to-night would not be criticising the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but we should rather be congratulating him upon the way he has discharged his duty. I think it is only right in a matter of this kind that one should state one's opinions quite frankly. I congratulate my hon. and gallant Friend below me upon the restraint he displayed in his attack which was in pleasant contrast to some of the comments made in this House last week and certainly to some of the criticisms in the Press. I am perfectly sure that the Home Secretary has a complete reply to all the criticisms which have been made in this Debate, and when this discussion concludes I think it will be found that in the discharge of his duties at the Home Office he has acquitted himself with distinction and in a manner which will command the unanimous approval and sincere congratulation of every hon. Member of this House.
I wish to take strong exception to the remark made by the hon. Member who has just sat down in imputing motives by saying that we were actuated by personal hostility to the Home Secretary because we have been attacking him in his official capacity. We are not attacking him personally, and I resent the imputation that I have any personal hostility to the right hon. Gentleman. In attacking him on a matter of public policy, we are only doing our duty as Members of this House. Owing to a curious concatenation of circumstances, the warning—I believe there was more than one warning—given in March to Scotland Yard, which I saw myself, was disregarded, and we are told that it was not brought to the notice of the Home Secretary himself. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it was brought to his notice at the time. I do not think it was, because, in alluding to it, he said:
The right hon. Gentleman knew perfectly well that I could not possibly give the source or tell him why it was not signed, because such things cannot be spoken about in this House, and the details could not be given to anyone except in the strictest confidence. I told the right hon. Gentleman before the Debate that I had seen a copy of that document, and I also told him that I asked my informant whether it had been sent to Scotland Yard, and he said it had. I think, under these circumstances, it was rather strange that the right hon. Gentleman should cast this scorn upon that document. What I say is that Scotland Yard was warned and did not take sufficient notice, and that is the reason why I attacked the policy of the right hon. Gentleman. I agree with the statement made by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Burton (Colonel Gretton) that the reason for this is because of the reconstruction of the Department at Scotland Yard by his advice, because the chief of that special branch used to have direct access to Ministers, and when Sir Basil Thomson left the chief of that Department was placed under the Chief Commissioner of Police, and he consequently no longer has direct access to the Cabinet and the Home Office. If Sir Basil Thomson had been in charge of that Department, and such a warning had come to his notice, he would have told the right hon. Gentleman about it, and then it would, at any rate, probably have attracted more notice. During the questions and answers on this question on Friday of last week, the Lord Privy Seal made a statement about Sir Basil Thomson which I thought was most unfair and ungenerous, and to do justice to the right hon. Gentleman, I do not believe he would have made that statement if he had not been stung by a supplementary question. The Lord Privy Seal said:"The warning is this typewritten document. The hon. and gallant Gentleman is not able to tell who took it to Scotland Yard, to whom it was given in Scotland Yard, or whether any explanation was given to Scotland Yard about its source."
I gave the Lord Privy Seal notice that I was bringing this forward, and I am sorry to hear that he is ill, but I wish to clear Sir Basil Thomson from an imputation which is quite unworthy of the right hon. Gentleman. Sir Basil Thomson was chief of the special branch of Scotland Yard when the Sinn Feiners were active, not only in Ireland, but in this country as well, and far from not having arrested a single person, Sir Basil Thomson's special branch arrested a good many people, and some of them were brought to justice. I have here a list of eight men who were all given periods of penal servitude after conviction ranging from four years to twelve years, and averaging ten years' penal servitude. One was the Wandsworth case, and in that case it will be remembered that a number of Sinn Feiners tried to set fire to the Vacuum Oil Company's stores, and the fire which might have resulted would have caused an enormous damage in London, and might have caused much loss of life. In addition to this, they also fired at the police. These men were caught and they were sentenced to eight and ten years' penal servitude, and Mr. Justice Lush, in acquitting one of the four men, complimented the police officers concerned on their admirable conduct. Another case occurred at Bromley on the night of a great many different outrages which took place all over London, when signal boxes were set on fire, on the 16th June last year. On that occasion a lot of Sinn Feiners were in a taxi. They were armed, and were going out to cut telegraph wires. Two police constables stopped them. One of them was armed, rind the men escaped out of the taxi owing to a ruse. They fired at the police four times and the constable fired at them ten times, and succeeded in wounding two of them, and one of them, a young man, was captured by these two policemen, and all the rest of the men escaped. The Lord Privy Seal said that the Criminal Investigation Department did not make any arrests, but the remainder of the men implicated in this case were all arrested by 10 o'clock the next morning. This affair occurred at 11.15 at night, and by 10 o'clock next morning all these men had been arrested entirely owing to the work of the Special Branch of Scotland Yard. There were other cases in which the men were arrested and brought to justice owing to the very skilful work of this Special Branch. What has happened to these men? In all these cases they were convicted of attempting arson, destruction of property, and shooting at the police. I think the Committee and the country will be surprised to hear that the men convicted of such crimes in this country have all been released. They were released in February last. [HON. MEMBERS: "Shame!"] May I ask the hon. Member for Dunfermline (Mr. Wallace) if he approves of the release of these men?"The hon. Member has alluded to Sir Basil Thomson. My hon. and gallant Friend must have a short memory if he does not remember the serious murders and outrages which took place during the time of Sir Basil Thomson without a single person being arrested."
Unlike the hon. and gallant Member, I never decide a case until I have heard both sides.
I have heard both sides.
Sir F. BANBURY
This is a statement of fact. The men were convicted of shooting at the police. They were sentenced to 10 years' penal servitude, and they were let out after a few months' imprisonment. That is a statement of fact. [An HON. MEMBER: "The sentences were too heavy!"]
The sentences were not too heavy, and that was not the reason given by the Home Secretary, who stated that they were released in February last in pursuance of the amnesty for Irish political prisoners prior to the truce. I wish to call attention to the pusillanimous and pestiferous poltroonery of a policy which actually releases men who have committed those crimes.
; That phrase is really not Parliamentary.
I was only applying it to the policy. I say it is poltroonery to release these men after they have been shooting at the police and call it a political crime. It is this policy which leads to murders like that of Sir Henry Wilson. I may point out in that connection that there is a body of men styling themselves the Irish Self-Determination League still in existence in London, and very active carrying out meetings. In nearly every case where these men were proved to be guilty of arson and attempted murder it was shown that they were connected with the Irish Self-Determination League. I would like to know what the Home Secretary is doing to curb the activities of this disloyal organisation. Now that Southern Ireland has been given Dominion Home Rule what need is there for this organisation here in London, poisoning the minds of our people with their seditious propaganda? I wish to urge the right hon. Gentleman and the Government to take some steps to protest to the Provisional Government in Ireland against the continued persecution of loyalists, whether they are Catholics, Protestants, Englishmen, Welshmen, or Ulstermen, who are settled in Ireland. At the present time anybody who is loyal in Ireland is being driven out and threatened with death and robbery, and I think it is time the Government told the Provisional Government that if this sort of thing goes on we shall have to begin to inquire whether in the public services, or under the London County Council or Municipal Authorities there are disloyal Irish—
Is it in order for the hon. and gallant Member to discuss the state of Ireland on this Vote?
No, it is not.
I am talking about the Irish Self-Determination League, and I say that these disloyal scoundrels are being allowed to poison the minds of our people whilst loyalists are being driven out of Ireland, and I ask the Home Secretary to see that these men are deported to Ireland instead of being allowed to take the bread out of the mouths of the unemployed people here in London. That is the connection between the question of Ireland and the Vote we are discussing. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to exercise the greatest care about this Irish Self-Determination League. It was proved to be guilty of conspiracy in the cases of these men who used firearms, and, incidentally, I may mention that some of the men who used firearms had had the tops of the bullets sawn off in order to convert them into dum-dum bullets so as to make more certain of mangling the police. This poisonous association of people ought to be stamped out. It should not be allowed to exist one moment longer, and the heads of it should be arrested. It is a monstrous thing, after England has made the sacrifices she has made, after we have given Ireland this enormous boon of Dominion Home Rule, a policy with which I, of course, entirely disagreed, it is a monstrous thing, I say, to allow these people to go about this country preaching sedition in every direction. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to use every power he has to stop the disloyal propaganda of this association in this country.
A good deal of the Debate which we have listened to to-night has been really a repetition of what took place a few nights ago. First, I would deal with the allegations with regard to the organisation of the Secret Service.
I made no allegations whatsoever with regard to the organisation of the Secret Service. Indeed, I went out of my way to say that I knew nothing against it. What I did refer to were certain defects by which the chief of the Intelligence Department no longer had access to Ministers.
And with regard to that, my hon. Friend is absolutely and entirely wrong. There has been no change in that respect. The official responsible for the dissemination of information and knowledge has an absolute right of access to me at once without any delay of any sort. With regard to what has been said about Sir Basil Thompson, I do not think we need go into that question again. It was threshed out the other night. Comparisons between one period and another are not always fair, and they are certainly useless. There were 43 outrages in and around London in the first six months of 1921, and in four cases the criminals were caught. I think Sir Basil Thompson's record; considering his difficulties, was good, but I assert that there is no inferiority in the present régime. If there is any change at all, it is for the better, and it is in the direction of greater efficiency. I was asked a question as to whether I received any report of the intended attempt against Sir Henry Wilson? I have already stated that I did not receive any such report. Two hon. Members have spoken about warnings, and I presume they are both alluding to the same warning.
No, my information is not the same as that of the hon. and gallant Member for Finsbury.
I have no knowledge of any warning such as that referred to by the hon. Gentlemen, and I cannot possibly ask about it because my hon. and gallant Friend gave me no particulars. He did not say whether it was in writing or whether it was verbal, and there is no way in which, therefore, it could be identified, otherwise I would have every possible inquiry made in order to ascertain what happened about it. With regard to the warning alluded to by the hon. and gallant Member for Finsbury (Lieut.-Colonel Archer-Shee), it was absolutely anonymous, and we have been unable to trace any word of it in the Department. It did not contain, as I understand, the slightest information as to its source. One could not call it a warning. We get such documents by the thousand. I have been asked as to the date when certain prisoners were released. The pre-Truce prisoners were released on the 11th February; the post-Truce prisoners on the 1st April. They were released by Cabinet decision as part of a general policy of amnesty in respect of all crimes corn-mated with a political motive. I do not understand the meaning of the words, "political crimes," but I do understand the meaning of the phrase "crimes committed with a political motive." There was a general policy of amnesty for these cases. It has been discussed in this House. It has been condemned and defended here more than once, and I think that possibly the House would not desire me to take up any more of its time. It is sufficient for me to remind it that these releases were part of a general policy.
But this is the first occasion that we found out these particular men had been released. Nobody knew it before.
That surprises me very much. The fact was certainly common knowledge, and I am very much surprised there should be any Member of this House who did not know about the release or who was not aware of the release of all prisoners under this amnesty both in Ireland and in this country. I have been asked, also, about the raids that took place directly after the assassination of Sir Henry Wilson, and I have further been asked for information as to raids before and after that terrible event. If the information asked for is information about the persons and individuals who constituted either the Irish Self-Determination League or any other Trish body in this country, I may say at once we have bad those names all along. One would imagine, after hearing the hon. and gallant Gentleman, that there had never before been any raids in London on these Irish persons. Raids were constantly taking place. We constantly raided them before the Truce under the Act for restoring peace to Ireland. We have always known of the existence of the Irish Self-Determination League, and we have taken the greatest care not only to watch the general headquarters, but also the rooms occupied by individuals taking a leading part in the organisation. Scotland Yard could tell anyone who were the leading men and what they were doing at particular times. Of course, we did not raid them every night, but when anything occurred which we thought might afford an opportunity of gaining information we made a raid as speedily as possible. I think I have dealt with all the matters raised in this Debate. These question have been debated on previous occasions, and therefore there is no necessity for me to take up further time in discussing them.
I should like to ask as to the system adopted in regard to these releases. Were the prisoners granted a ticket-of-leave or anything of that kind, or did they get the King's pardon?
There was no question of the King's pardon at all. They were let out in the ordinary way by the shortening of their sentences.
Has the Home Office statutory authority to cancel sentences?
There was no question of cancelling sentences, but of course we have the right to advise the King to reduce them.
Colonel Sir C. YATE
I would like to ask as to the cases of the men convicted of stealing rifles from the Irish Guards. A sergeant and two other Irishmen were so convicted of that, offence. The right hon. Gentleman has said that everybody ought to have known of the release of the prisoners. But we never heard of the release of these particular men until I put a question to the right hon. Gentleman the other day, and he then acknowledged that they were released in April. In that case—
If the hon. and gallant Baronet wishes to ask a question on the point. He can do so, but it is not in order for him to make a speech on the subject.
Sir C. YATE
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman under what category the case of the sergeant came? It was a case in which military discipline was concerned. Was this sergeant, for instance, who was serving in the Guards, released as having committed a crime for a political motive?
The fact that he was a soldier did not remove him from the jurisdiction of the civil authorities. This man was convicted and sentenced by a civil court, and in the ordinary course, with other prisoners in the same category, he had his sentence reduced.
And is he now serving in the Army?
The Home Secretary on this occasion has failed entirely in my view in meeting the gravamen of the charge against his Department, namely, that they did not afford that adequate police protection to Sir Henry Wilson which the circumstances of the case evidently demanded. In the course of this Debate questions have been raised not entirely relevant to that issue and hon. Members have discussed at some length the release of prisoners who were convicted of crimes for a political motive. I cannot see that in this particular event that type of man was as likely to commit a crime of this nature as those actually engaged in the struggle now raging, particularly in the North of Ireland. The hon. Member who moved this Amendment discussed at some length the question of whether or not the Home Secretary had received warnings that the life of Sir Henry Wilson was threatened. I think the Home Secretary would have been right even if he had received such warnings, not to attach too great an importance to them, for anyone who has been actively engaged in the Irish controversy during the last few years must have received scores of such threats, and it must he an accident of life if the man who intends to shoot one, takes the precaution of giving warning of his intention. I cannot see, therefore, that this question of warning is important to the issue which we are now debating.8.0 P.M. I do feel, however, that the Department of the right hon. Gentleman is gravely culpable on general grounds. After all, it is the business of an efficient police force to operate effectively without warning and advice from extraneous sources. It is the business of a Department such as the Home Office to foresee and to forestall within reasonable limits the motives and the movements of crime. The right hon. Gentleman, in the last Debate, argued that it was right not to protect Sir Henry Wilson because protection had been with-drawn from Ministers, but the cases are in no way similar. Ministers were protected, and very closely protected, throughout the period when they were engaged in active measures for the maintenance of order in Ireland, and some of them it was found necessary to protect even after that. Sir Henry Wilson, during the last few months, was in precisely the same position which Ministers occupied during that previous period when they were so rigorously guarded. What was his position? He was, as I understand, military adviser to the Government of Northern Ireland, a Government which was engaged in a very desperate struggle to maintain order in its territory under preculiarly difficult circumstances, and that Government, and Sir Henry Wilson as their adviser, were of necessity involved in measures which would excite the most bitter animosity, and in many cases the most deep-rooted desire for vengeance and counter-action of a criminal nature. If the Home Secretary and his advisers had reflected for a moment on the peculiar position which Sir Henry Wilson occupied, they must have realised that he would be the first object for any measure of criminal revenge on the part of any section of the population in Belfast who entertained such a desire. They must have realised that such men would be animated by the conception that, in striking at Sir Henry Wilson, they would be striking a most effective blow at those whom they considered to be their enemies. They would, further, have reflected that Sir Henry Wilson was the most outstanding and capable figure of those who were advocating the reconquest of Southern Ireland, and was one who must inevitably draw down upon his head the first assassin's stroke of any felon who desired to prevent the effective speech of a political opponent. Sir Henry Wilson was in precisely the same position that Ministers occupied when they took Bach great precautions for the preservation of their own safety. The right hon. Gentleman, also in the last Debate, said that Ministers were more likely to be assassinated, even under present conditions, than was Sir Henry Wilson, for the reason that the assassination of a Minister of the Crown might lead to the scrapping of the Treaty. Surely, the animosity of those elements in Southern Ireland would, in present circumstances, be directed, not against Ministers of the Crown in this country, but against those who were responsible, in their view, for what they feel to be an act of treachery towards the cause which they have espoused, and who have now undertaken the greatest burden of preserving order in that country. The attacks of such men would, in present circumstances, be concentrated, not on Ministers of the Crown in this country, who are fading out of the picture, but on those who now occupy those onerous positions in connection with the preservation of order in that country. In the same way, crime in Northern Ireland would be directed, not against Ministers in this country, who have ceased to be responsible, but against those prominent figures within the ranks of the Northern Government who are responsible for the preservation of law and order and for the measures which have to be taken to that end. Of all these men, Sir Henry Wilson must inevitably have been the one most marked down for destruction by the assassins. Any occurrence in Northern Ireland which excited the fury and rage of any determined section of the population, would, naturally, be directed against him. His speeches, again, in regard to the position in the South of Ireland must have incurred a considerable measure of danger from those who took the contrary opinion, and who are inured to the weapons of political murder. It is almost inconceivable that a Department whose business it is to pre-judge the issues of crime, to foresee the motives and the movements of the criminal classes, should not have foreseen that Sir Henry Wilson must inevitably be a mark for any crime of a political character or committed from a blind desire for vengeance; and, as we all know, it is the latter category of crime—that of revenge on the part of a man who is animated by a desire to strike back at the authority which has repressed his criminal motives—which is most dangerous to the figure responsible for such measures; for there a type of criminal has been produced who is indifferent to his own safety, who is only desirous of striking his blow, and is comparatively indifferent to what happens subsequently. A man such as that is almost the most dangerous assailant who can set out upon a. mission of murder, and it was to criminals of that kind that Sir Henry Wilson was most conspicuously exposed. The right hon. Gentleman, in my view, is not culpable on the grounds which have been advanced in this Debate, of disregarding to a large extent the mere warning which was advanced, or on those wider questions of policy which have been raised. He was, in my view, most gravely to blame in that it was the elementary duty of his Department to foresee the commission of crime of this nature, and to award a measure of safety to a man who, more than any other man of his day, was conspicuously threatened with the prospect of an appalling disaster such as that which has shocked this country.
I have no desire to join in the criticisms which have been urged against the right hon. Gentleman, much less to bring an indictment against the police administration of this country; but if I did not at the outset make some brief reference to an incident which is reported in the Press to-day, in connection with the administration of our police service, should not be doing justice to my conscience. There is a report in the Press to-day of the arrest by the police of a, man who was actually arrested while he was at the mortuary identifying the bodies of his wife and two children. The woman had committed suicide in the Thames, taking her two children to death with her, and it is established that that act was due to a condition of poverty in the household which the man had endeavoured to soften by committing a theft; and, while he was in process of identifying those who had left him, he was arrested by the police on a charge of theft and hauled before the Court, from which he had to be carried by two policemen. If the facts are as recorded, it seems to me to he an exceedingly inhuman incident. If they are not as recorded, they Ought to he denied. If the statement that is contained in to-day's Press has any semblance of truth in it, I suggest that it is discreditable to the police force of this or any other country, and to the administration that is responsible for it.The Amendment that we have on the Paper, to reduce the Vote by £100, that has been put down for the purpose of ensuring a discussion upon, or at least of drawing the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to, the administration of the juvenile courts and the probation officers in the country. The Act of Parliament which set up those juvenile courts and probation officers dates back to 1908, and those with whom I am associated in the House have come to the conclusion that, after the experience that has been gained and the work that has been done in this direction, the time has come when the whole situation should be reviewed in the light of that experience. It is a remarkable fact that from the year 1908, when the Act was passed, to the year 1918, the cases which came before the courts of summary jurisdiction in this country steadily declined, the figure for 1918 being just over half the number of cases which were before the Courts in 1908. During that same period, there has been an ever-increasing tendency for the Courts of the country to submit more of the cases which came before them to these juvenile Courts, While the total number of cases which came before the Courts has diminished, the proportion of cases taken to juvenile Courts has been increasing. We look upon that tendency as a very healthy one, and one of which we heartily approve. It is a significant fact, however, that in 1919, the first year in which there was an upward tendency in the number of cases which came before the Courts, the percentage of cases put on probation was the lowest in any year since the passing of the Act. There are those who are entitled to speak with authority who say that the diminution in crime which has taken place during the last 12 or 14 years has been very largely due to the fact that more cases have been brought before the juvenile Courts. On the same lines, the upward tendency in crime in 1919 might be a coincidence, but at least it is a fact that that lesser percentage is coincident with the greater volume of crime in the country. No one who is acquainted with the administration of our juvenile Courts has any wish or desire to limit their activities, but we believe it to be necessary that they should be put upon a more substantial footing, and that the whole principle of putting offenders on probation should be stabilised. We are not prepared to claim that either juvenile Courts or probation officers are a specific remedy for crime. We believe that the operation of these two forces has not only in the past set many a first offender on his feet, but has also set many going in the direction of a better condition of things in later life. To support that point of view we have before us the Report of the Departmental Committee, which has recently issued a report upon this question of probation officers. It says:
"The conclusion to which we have come on the representations made to us, is that many Courts, including Courts of Quarter Sessions, could with greater advantage use probation procedure much more freely than they do at present and that every Court should have the service of a probation officer at its disposal, so that probation orders can be made when the circumstances render Inch a course desirable."
On a point of Order. May I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment? The Debate is going very far from the reasons for which that reduction was put down.
The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Sir E. Cornwall)
I am afraid that cannot be suggested at this stage while the hon. Member is speaking.
Despite the pronouncement of the Departmental Committee, we are confronted with the fact that out of 1,034 Courts of Summary Jurisdiction in England and Wales ther are still 215 which have taken no step whatever with reference to the appointment of a probation officer, and in those cases where the work has been undertaken by the Courts, in many instances it is carried out in a very perfunctory fashion. The Report, to which I have referred, mentions the fact that in some cases probation officers have 70 to 100 cases under their charge. Two men are stated to have 124 and 131 cases, respectively. In one large borough the average number of cases for each officer amounts to 100, and in one thickly populated county four officers are responsible for 450 cases. We notice cases in which one man is appointed to act for as many as 10 or 12 Courts, and in one county as many as 21 Courts. The Report of the Committee suggests that the work cannot be efficiently carried out by officers who have to distribute their activities over such a wide area. What is the work that these probation officers have to do? The development of these Juvenile Courts has put under the charge of these probation officers a large number of juveniles. I gather from the Report that in 1919 the Juvenile Courts dealt with over 40,000 juvenile offenders, and that over 4,000 were placed under the probation officers, and in addition to that, 5,500 adults were similarly dealt with. There were nearly 10,000 cases in the country under probation, about half of which were juveniles. That work is exceedingly responsible work, and the time has come, having regard to the fact that many of these Courts have probation officers who are ex-policemen, and Court missionaries, fulfilling all sorts of functions, and having regard to the experience of the last 12 or 14 years, when we should systematise the work.One argument which is hurled against every proposal in this House when any improvement in any public service is asked for is, what it is going to cost in £ s. d.? Anticipating that argument, I have gone into this question of the cost of these probation officers. I find that with nearly 10,000 cases on probation in 1019 something like £26,000 was expended, and, striking an average, it costs the country about 1s. a week per case. When we consider that it costs something like £70 a year to maintain a boy or girl in a reformatory, and that, according to the prison report which has just been issued, it costs £121 a year to maintain an inmate in a local prison, and £166 a year to maintain an inmate in a convict prison, there is some justification for believing that by extending and stiffening up the work these probation officers undertake we could save, taking the long view, in the times ahead of us, a considerable sum in prison administration. I think it can be demonstrated. It is urged by the Howard association and similar bodies that the work of the probation officers has enabled large numbers of people to avoid contact with the prison system. I have said that in many areas the work of the probation officer is combined with other functions. When probation officers were first instituted the effort was to a very large extent voluntary. Much voluntary work is put in even now, and I am the last to deprecate even voluntary activities in this direction. But like many other services, which at their inception were based on voluntary effort, we have lived to see the time come when the whole administration of the service has outgrown voluntary effort, and while we may welcome voluntary effort, the time has come when it should be lifted above either the occasional or the voluntary work or the perfunctory system which at present prevails. A wider responsibility is necessary. The probation officer has not only to take up an individual. He often has to hold him up, and very frequently to set him going in addition, and unless the system of probation carries out that function it loses very largely the virtue that is claimed for it. What do we propose should be done? We have again to fall hack upon the report of the Departmental Committee, and they have recommended that a small Advisory Committee should be appointed. It should be a central authority under the Home Office. It should consist of 10 or 12 members, including representatives of magistrates, local authorities, probation officers, and other persons specially experienced and interested in this work. We agree with the setting up of such a committee. We are advised by those associations which are entitled to speak upon the matter that if such a committee were set up there should be co-opted upon it a representative of industrial organisations and that we should not go past the claims of working women to a place on such an advisory committee, acting in a national capacity. On the other hand, we urge that no court in the country ought to be without its probation officer. Fourteen years after the inception of the Act, we find that 215 courts have made no provision for a probation officer, and that that ought to be remedied by the Home Office at the earliest opportunity. We would maintain the system of local appointment of probation officers, but in order to bring into this work the ability which is necessary, and the particular temperament which is desirable, we would remove the appointments to a very large extent from the channels in which the appointments are now made, and remove the circumstances which compel certain considerations to be acted upon, and by some measure of financial support from the Exchequer assist these appointments getting into those avenue which would bring to this service the people most adapted for the work. The benefit and advantages of the operation of the juvenile courts and probation officer are well understood. The procedure which makes in the direction of prevention is better than remedies and penalties. Having regard to the cost of the operation, from the point of view of pounds, shillings, and pence, the preventive aspect of the case is infinitely cheaper than the application of the penalty. The Departmental Committee say:
That, in our judgment, is a very definite recommendation from people who were specially charged to investigate this particular matter. In the past, it is unfortunate, but it is true, the placing of offenders on probation has often been attempted when all other agencies have failed. The putting of an offender on probation should be the first step, and not a step taken when others have been attempted and have failed. We maintain that it should not be a temporary matter or voluntary or occasional in its operation, but that we should systematise the whole procedure of juvenile courts and probation officers, going further, and giving it a permanent part in the public administration of the country. We believe that both from the moral and the material point of view our claim can be justified. From the material point of view it would save the country large sums of money, nipping crime in the bud in its early stages, and making unnecessary the larger expenditure entailed in connection with our gaols and prisons in later years. There is a greater moral effect, and that is that here and there this system picks up a person who has fallen into some avenue of crime, very often a minor offence, and by stopping an avenue of that sort, and directing the offender into better walks of life, a great advantage would accrue. The report of the Departmental Committee by no means comes up to our expectations, and we do not by any manner of means feel satisfied. We believe that even if the findings of the Departmental Committee were carried, out that they would not meet the needs of the situation in these days, but they would go a long way. We ask the Home Secretary whether he is prepared to take into consideration the whole question of probation officers in this country and their relations to juvenile courts, and whether he will systematise and stabilise their work in order that the proved advantage of the system, even under the existing unsatisfactory conditions, can be so directed and applied that it would bring greater benefits to the community in the years to come."Probation, when applied in suitable cases, has frequently proved successful in producing a real change in the moral attitude of persons brought before the Court restoring their self-respect and enabling them to take their place as decent and law-abiding citizens."
The Debate has now passed far from the reasons which induced me to move the reduction now before the Committee, and I therefore ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Original Question again proposed.
I wish that in these days of Supply each Government Department would follow the precedent that is usually followed by most Departments of making a definite statement as to the progress of their Department during the past year. That is always done with regard to the Army, the Navy, the Colonial Office and the India Office Votes. It is just as important that the House of Commons should know what progress the Home Office has made during the year as that they should know what has been done in any other Department. We should have had, in that case, an admirable review from the Home Secretary, with a statement of what the Home Office intend to do about the report with which my hon. Friend has just dealt with such great ability. We should have had a report as to the reasons which led the Home Secretary to deal with such startling difference between the cases of Jacoby and True. We should have had, I hope, some explanations why it was found necessary for many weeks to put the convict Conmy, at Parkhurst, in chains, in a mediaeval manner, because he broke gaol. We should have had, perhaps, a statement of what the Home Secretary intends to do in the case of ex-Inspector Syme, because the country is getting rather tired of this perpetual process of putting a man in gaol for five days, then letting him out for five days, which process has gone on for the last three months. In the old days, when a woman had been dealt with under the Cat and Mouse Act, she was set free. I think the time has almost come in the case of ex-Inspector Syme. It cannot redound to the credit. of the Home Office or of our judicial system that ex-Inspector Syme should ultimately die in prison of starvation. His health must now be seriously undermined. The man is, obviously, irrational from the particular point of his grievance, and he might quite well be excused the remainder of his sentence, simply on the ground that his sentence has been more than worked out, if you take into account the time he has been in gaol and the time he has been out of gaol.All these things would have been dealt with admirably if we had had a statement from the Home Secretary. Unfortunately, the Home Secretary is only in the House when he is being attacked on some par- ticular subject. Therefore, we do not get a compendious review of the working of his Department. I should like to look at all these Votes from the point of view of what the Labour party might do in that particular Department if they were on the Government Bench instead of on this Bench. I think that it is perhaps the best way in which we can think out the problems which we shall ultimately have to face and see in what direction the conduct of that the present Government can be amended in these particular details. Take Home Office administration. The Home Office is in effect what is in other countries called a ministry of justice. Primary it is the ministry of justice responsible for the justice and prison administration of the whole country, and I would say that, viewed as a ministry of justice the Home Office at the present time is extraordinarily old-fashioned and reactionary in its ideas. The ideal of the, Ministry of Justice should be to keep people out of gaol and not to get people into gaol. The idea should be to attempt, as the hon. Member for Spen Valley (Mr. Myers) said, to rescue the young and the first offenders before they become hardened and habitual, and to enable them to become useful citizens instead of a perpetual burden upon the community. The position, so far as people in prison are concerned, is growing not better but worse. I do not mean to say that there are more people in prison, but you are getting an increasing callousness as to the people who go to prison. Ten or fifteen years ago there were great movements for first offenders, probationary treatment, children's courts. There was a movement which you do not see to-day. In 1920–21 there were no fewer than 10,200 people in gaol on remand who were not sent back ultimately to gaol. Of course, it is simpler, from the police point of view, to refuse hail and send people to gaol on remand. It is simply because it is easier to keep your hands upon them and to control them. But it is bad business from the point of view of the country, because it costs more and because it tends to create criminals, and it is bad business from the point of view of any of us who love liberty or justice, because it is not right to keep in prison a person who has been guilty of no crime. The figures are serious enough, but they are getting worse. It is remarkable that while the general admissions into prison have fallen by 62 per cent. since 1913–14, the number of remand prisoners who are not received again in prison after being produced in court has fallen by only 18 per cent. So we get a constantly larger number of persons in prison simply on remand. Mr. Justice Horridge's Committee reported rightly against the growing practice of sending people to gaol on remand, and I have no doubt that the Home Office circularised the justices in the country, but there ought to ho some way of putting more pressure on them than merely by circularising. You have got not merely to work on the justices, but the police have to have their minds changed, and in that direction I think that definite pressure should be brought by the Home Office to produce the results that Mr. Justice Horridge in his report desired to see produced. It is all nonsense to say that the Home Office has done all that it is capable of doing. Reprimands are sometimes better than advice, and, going through these particulars of the different courts and the action which they take, you might get some improvement in the number of cases that are remanded in this way. Then we should keep a lot of innocent people out of prison and prevent a lot of people from contracting the prison habit. A great deal also can be done by amending the Borstal system. I have always been against a system of indeterminate sentences. I think that when a man is punished he ought to be imprisoned for crime and that his sentence should be definite. When it is a boy in the Western Isles who picks up a pocket book with £15 in it he should be punished for stealing those £15 and not sent to a reformatory for four or five years in order to improve his mind, even if a reformatory would do that. I think it unjust that the punishment should not fit the crime, and that it should be readjusted to what was considered the right method of dealing with youth at that particular period of his life. Magistrates, like other people, are capable of making mistakes. Some of them believe in the Borstal system, some of them think that reformatories do reform, and send cases to reformatories. Others I imagine believe that reformatories tend rather to turn people who might not be criminals into criminals. But in any case you have an injustice if for a small definite crime a very long period of imprisonment, or what amounts to imprisonment is given. It is a lamentable fact. that in 1920–21 there were sent to prison no fewer than 4,313 young people between the ages of 16 and 18 and 641 were sent to Borstal. There, again, we are again on the horns of dilemma. If we send all these boys and girls to prison they contract the prison habit. They do not reform themselves. They remain more or less under the same influence that originally got them into gaol, and there is very little chance of their recovering. On the other hand—
May I point out to the hon. and gallant Gentleman that we are now discussing the Home Office Vote? There is a Vote down for prisons on which this subject would be in order, and of course the hon. and gallant Member knows that we cannot question what the Courts of Justice do, and that we can discuss the matter only in so far as the Home Secretary himself is responsible for anything in the administration of his Department.
I was not aware that we were debarred from discussing this matter. If the Home Office want fewer people put into gaol they must take more effective action than they took as the result of Mr. Justice Horridge's report. If they want to work the Borstal system properly they must see that it is possible to combine the Borstal system—I am not criticising it—with short sentences, so that it may be posible to send boys and girls to reformatories, not for periods of more than two years, but for short periods.
It is only so far as the Home Secretary can give advice on the policy of short or long sentences in general that would be in order now. We cannot discuss the action of judges in any particular case.
What happened in the case of Mr. Justice Horridge's Committee was that the Home Secretary circularised all the Justices in the direction of that report, urging them to pay attention to the desirability of preventing people who are innocent from being sent to gaol.
I would not like to tax my memory. I have not the slightest doubt that we probably sent a circular out, not urging, but suggesting that they might well carry out the recommendations, whatever they were. I am afraid I do not remember it, and I could not give an accurate answer off-hand.
The Home Secretary can by circular call the attention of benches of Justices to the reports of Committees such as that.
In so far as the Home, Secretary can suggest that, the hon. and gallant Member is in order in discussing it, but not the decisions of judges.
The desirable thing is to keep people out of gaol rather than to get them into gaol. The fact that there are in gaol on remand 10,000 people who do not go back to prison, is a blot on our administration. The Home Office should try to reduce that number, and should try to reduce the number of young people under 21 who go to prison. The only alternative to sending them to prison is to send them to reformatories or industrial schools, and then you run the risk of turning out hardened criminals. The Howard Association believes that the risk would be much less if, instead of sending them for long terms to these institutions, they could be sent for short terms. Then, far more children would go to reformatories instead of to prison. At present many benches of Justices cannot send a boy or girl to a reformatory for four or five years for a small crime, because the punishment would outweigh the crime, and therefore they send them to prison. Take the case of the boy in the Western Isles, who stole He was sent to a reformatory for five years. No doubt it was thought that that was the best way of curing that boy. But it was a frightfully heavy sentence to give for a small offence.
It does not in the least mean that five years is the actual sentence. In all industrial schools, at Borstal and everywhere else, the cases are constantly being reviewed with a view to letting out the inmates. Many a five years' sentence becomes only six months, and many another only 12 months. The cases are reviewed constantly with the desire to let the inmates out as soon as it is felt that good has been done.
I know that the question of the indeterminate reformatory sentence is very difficult. I suggest that the policy of an enlightened Ministry of Justice would be to establish something in the nature of a reformatory for short periods, so that you would not have the criminals, who are not criminals at all, mixed up with more hardened offenders who are in for a long term of years. If some of our empty prisons could be used for such a purpose as that, a far larger proportion of the boys and girls who go to these institutions would turn out cured instead of hardened. Turn to the question of probation officers and the treatment of first offenders. It is notorious that between the different towns and benches of justices, there is an enormous difference in the way in which they treat first offenders and use the probation system. The first duty of the Advisory Committee which is recommended in this report should be to call the particular attention of all benches of magistrates to the working of the system in such places as Birmingham, where this system of Children's Courts was started, or in Hull, and to ask for reports as to what they are doing on similar lines. All towns would benefit by being shown what was done in the good places, and all the bad places might be screwed up to the right level. Unfortunately it is impossible to screw up benches to what is the satisfactory probation standard, without money. The Departmental Committee which the Home Office appointed was unfortunately solely a Departmental Committee and its hands were tied. I think its report is excellent. It is obvious, however, that the only way to make the system satisfactory is to get money.The hon. Member for Spen Valley showed from the financial point of view that it would be a real saving to have a probation officer connected with each of the thousand Courts. If they were paid £300 a year it would be a saving if only four people were kept from gaol. I understand that cases dealt with by the present probation officers—cases that do not re-appear in Court—are 80 per cent. Therefore, the probation system, as far as it goes now, is enormously successful in saving the taxpayers' money. But it is the Imperial Exchequer that saves the expense. Every boy kept out of Borstal saves the Imperial Exchequer£75 a year. Every person kept out of prison saves nearly £100 a year to the Exchequer. That, however, is not the problem to present itself to a Ministry of Justice. We do not want to give these young first offenders anything but the best possible chance of not becoming criminals. It is in their interests that we want the probation officer. That is a question of money. At present a lot of these probation officers are paid from £5 to £20 a year—sums which are utterly insignificant compared with the work that the officers do and might do. These officers are generally police court missionaries. They are paid by denominational bodies. Some of them do their work very well, though I notice that the Committee report that in some cases the work is not very well done, because the people are not fitted for it. I do not see why this very important work should not be given to a higher class of people. We have going through all our universities to-day an enormous number of people. Very often they select the job of teacher or something of that sort. I would take these boys and girls of rather superior intelligence and see that some of them were directed to this probation officer work, which is really admirable social work. At present, in many cases ex-policemen or their wives do the work. I do not want to see it solely a matter for various religious denominations. It is a position which requires training and experience and not exactly the sort of experience which the missionary has. I do not want to go toe far at present, but I would say while we have these probation officers, and where their work meets with the approval of the Home Office, by all means keep them on, but let us try to get the standard up, because these probation officers are nearly as important to the future generation as the teachers themselves. I would like to see a real effort made to prevent a growth in the number of criminals by the use of this system. Nearly half the cases dealt with on probation are those of young people under 16. I notice that whereas in one town 43 per cent. of the persons under 21 coming before the magistrate are released on probation, in another place the percentage is as low as 1·7. It cannot be that there is a difference in the criminals. The difference must be in the respective benches of magistrates. I would ask the Advisory Committee to draw the attention of the various benches of magistrates to the proportion in every instance as between the number of first offenders and the number of cases treated on probation, particularly those of juveniles, in order that they may see the standard up to which they ought to live. I am a great believer in competition in this way. In the place I am speaking of, where there is only 1·7 per cent. of releases on probation, the birch is frequently used, and 25 per cent. of the juvenile cases treated there came back again before the courts and get into prison. That is obviously a bad place. The name is not given in the Report it is merely indicated by a letter. The bench of magistrates there could be brought up to the scratch wonderfully quickly by pressure of local opinion and by getting into the local papers statistics of the facts concerning that court as compared with the facts concerning neighbouring courts. In that way we could very soon bring about a change in the method of the treatment of offenders in that district. Publicity is the best way to cure all abuses. Funds should be provided in next year's Budget in order that, without the slightest delay, we may set our system of probation officers on a firm foundation. I have referred to it as a useful financial investment. It is also an enormous moral advantage to the race, while it secures justice to the individual. On any one of these three grounds there is a far stronger case for the probation officers than even for the women police. The system has worked for a long time, and has shown even now, with underpaid and in some cases inefficient probation officers, wonderfully successful results. I beg the Home Secretary to move in that direction, and I would indicate to my own party that it is in that direction the Labour party ought to move when they come into power and are able to do what they want.
Sir DOUGLAS NEWTON
I would ask the Home Secretary to carefully consider the desirability of making further provision for the use of telephones by the police. There is an ever-increasing number of crimes in which motor cars are used, and one of the most efficient methods of dealing with crimes in which motor cars are used and swift locomotion is available, is that there should be the possibility of drawing as rapidly as possible a cordon round the scene of the crime. If we are to draw this cordon which is so essential, then we must have very rapid means of communication, and additional telephone facilities should be placed at the disposal of the police. I understand that in certain groups of police stations one station can call up any other station in the group immediately, but it is not possible to make a general call to all stations in a considerable area. Facilities should be provided by which a general call could be given throughout a large area, and the police thus informed of anything that is taking place. Facilities for telephoning should also be given to police on point duty. A policeman is not able to leave his point duty, and he should have a key with which he could unlock a telephone in his vicinity. He would thus be in a position to communicate with headquarters, and in that way lead to the more rapid following up of any case which might have come under his observation. As the means of locomotion improve, so it is necessary to make as rapid and effective as possible these means of communication.
I desire to raise the question of the Home Secretary's statement with regard to the Ronald True reprieve. I do not desire in any way to rehash a stale dish, and I do not propose to go into any question of public sentiment or feeling in regard to that case. I will restrict myself to the legal aspect, because I think the statement made by the Home Secretary is one which goes far beyond the particular facts of the case of Ronald True. It raises a very serious question as to whether or not there has been a. frustration, through the Home Secretary's action, of trial by jury, and the whole question of the administration of our criminal law is involved in the interpretation which the Home Secretary applied to the Criminal Lunatics Act, 1884, under which he says he acted. I propose to criticise especially the Home Secretary's statement made on the 13th June. As the Committee will recollect, we desired at that time to have a discussion on the matter, but the House did not see fit to have a discussion on that occasion, and this is the first opportunity we have had of going into the important legal questions involved in that statement. I have no wish to bore the Com- mittee with legal arguments, but I am afraid it will be necessary to go into one or two before we can appreciate fully the effect of the Home Secretary's action in this case. The Home Secretary said:
The Home Secretary therefore bases the whole of his defence on the fact that he had no discretion in the matter and was absolutely bound to act as he did. I am not, of course, raising any question as to the exercise of the prerogative, because that is not the question involved. The Home Secretary says he is bound, under his interpretation of the Criminal Lunatics Act, 1884, to act as he did, and had no discretion in the matter at all. I submit he had a discretion which ought to have been exercised in this particular case. What. reasons did the Home Secretary give to justify his statement-that he was bound to act as he did? He first of all quoted Sub-section (4) of Section 2 of the Act in question, which says:"It was my statutory duty to set up that Committee of Inquiry and when they reported to me that True was insane, and certified him to be insane, I was hound by the law of the land to reprieve him."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th June, 1922; col. 204. Vol. 155.]
The right hon. Gentleman says that owing to the communication he received from the judge who tried this case, and the remarks of the Lord Chief Justice, it certainly appeared to him, "by any other means," that there was reason to believe that this man was insane, and that he had to hold an inquiry. I will deal with that later, but the point I want, to deal with now is what action he was bound to take after the report of the committee and the certification that the man was insane. The Home Secretary said, that having submitted the question to the committee of medical experts, and having obtained their certification that this man was insane, he was bound under the law to reprieve the man, and that he had no discretion whatever in the matter. What justification did he give for that statement? He quoted a whole list of old authorities, going back to the time of Coke, to the effect that no man could be hanged who was insane. When we look at all those authorities, which I have here beside me, but which I am not going to read, it is quite clear that in every single instance that they mention the man went insane after trial. There is no question there of an issue of insanity being raised at the trial and determined by the jury. In every single instance insanity supervened after trial, and, furthermore, in all these cases the insanity referred to is of such a type as was then understood to render a man not responsible to the law for his actions. There is no question at all that the insanity thereby intended was such insanity as is understood by the medical profession at the present time, with all their modern tests. I submit that every one of those authorities, on the grounds I have stated, was totally irrelevant. It does not, however, remain at that. The Home Secretary led the House to understand that these authorities were th only authorities which affected the question as to what he had to do after he had received a report from the committee on this question of insanity, but that is not the fact, for if we look at the very Section from which he had previously quoted, we find that in Subsection (1) it says what the Secretary of State should do after the certificate is granted, and I will read the words of the Sub-section:"In the case of a prisoner under sentence of death, if it appears to a Secretary of State, either by means of a certificate signed by two members of the visiting committee … or by any other means, that there is reason to believe such prisoner to be insane, the Secretary of State shall appoint two or more legally qualified medical practitioners, and the said medical practitioners shall forthwith examine such prisoner and inquire as to his insanity, and after such examination and inquiry such practitioners shall make a report in writing to the Secretary of State as to the sanity of the prisoner, and they, or the majority of them, may certify in writing that he is insane."
That is in the very Section which provides for the certificate which the right hon. Gentleman said he was bound to have in this case, and yet he never said anything about this Sub-section."Where a prisoner is certified, in manner provided in this Section, to he insane, a Secretary of State may, if he thinks fit, by warrant direct such prisoner to be removed to the asylum named in the warrant."
There are more words to read.
The Sub-section goes on
"and thereupon.such prisoner shall be removed to, and received in, such asylum"—
"And received in."
Yes; and it goes on:
Those are the whole of the words of the Sub-section, and I would ask the Committee to consider what those words mean. The only authorities which the Home Secretary quoted were authorities which, he said, established the fact that you could not hang an insane man. Everyone of those authorities related to the case where a man who was found guilty subsequently became insane. That is the first point which differentiates all those authorities; secondly, there is no doubt about it that those old authorities at the time they were talking of insanity were referring to such insanity as was then understood, where a man was obviously a raving lunatic. I believe that if we sufficiently delved into the legal history of this matter we should find that the reason why the common law was established, that a man who was insane ought not to receive punishment, was because he was not able, in the terms which were then used, to "make his peace with God." Obviously, that is a test which is far removed from the modern tests of medical insanity, of which nobody knows what the definitions are, but which are left to the discretion of medical men. There are further indications in this Section that the Home Secretary has a discretion in this matter. All he quoted were those old legal authorities, which I have shown were quite irrelevant, whereas in this very Section under which he was acting discretion is expressly given to him to order the removal of this prisoner to an asylum if he thinks fit. Assuming that those old authorities covered the facts of this case, which I do not admit for a moment, this Act was passed long after the time of every one of those authorities, and the terms of an Act which expressly provided what action he might take after a certificate is granted would overrule those authorities if it was inconsistent with them, though I submit that it is not inconsistent with them. If we look at Sub-section (3) of the same Section we find provisions relating to the cases of prisoners who are not under sentence of death, and it is rather significant to notice the distinction between the provisions as regards that type of prisoner and the prisoner who is under sentence of death. Sub-section (3) reads:"and, subject to the provisions of this Act relating to conditional discharge and otherwise, shall be detained therein, or in any other asylum to which he may be transferred, in pursuance of this Act, as a criminal lunatic until he ceases to he a criminal lunatic."
When we look at Sub-section (4), which deals with the case of a prisoner under sentence of death and which is the Subsection under which the Home Secretary acted, we find it is a different provision. It provides there that, after such examination and inquiry, such practitioners shall make a report in writing to the Secretary of State as to the sanity of the prisoner, and they, or the majority of them, may certify in writing that he is insane. The Committee will notice a distinction. In the case of a man under sentence of death, a report is called for, as well as a certificate; whereas, in the case of an ordinary prisoner, a mere certificate only is necessary. Why is the distinction? In the case of an ordinary prisoner, under sentence of imprisonment., if, on the visit of the Visiting Committee, that man is believed to be insane, what is the question involved? It is a mere matter of whether or not the association of an insane prisoner with persons who are sane is an advisable thing—whether or not it is better that that man should be removed to a criminal asylum. It is not a matter of any great importance, and the only provision made in this case is that, on a mere certificate of insanity by the medical practitioners as provided in the Section, that man can be removed to a criminal lunatic asylum. In the case of a man under sentence of death, however, it makes a further provision. The provision is that that committee have to make a report on the sanity of the person in question. What is the reason for that distinction? If they have to make a report, as well as give a certificate, that obviously means a detailed report. The reasons for their decision have to be given. If, as the Home Secretary says, on the certificate of insanity he was bound to act, what was the reason for the report being given, when it is very significantly excluded from the Section as regards those prisoners where, as I have shown, the matter is of small importance? The reason for the report being given is, obviously, in order to enable the Home Secretary to have reasons on which he can exercise the discretion, which is expressly granted to him by Sub-section (1) of the same Section, as to what action he ought to take on receiving the certificate of the committee of medical experts. What does that mean? It is not at all clear from the terms of this Act what is the definition of insanity therein referred to. We look at all the old authorities which the Home Secretary quoted in support of the action he took. There is no reason at all for thinking that the insanity therein referred to was anything else than insanity such as is recognised by the criminal law as exempting a person from responsibility for his acts. That is perfectly clear. What reason is there for assuming that the insanity in this question which the Home Secretary has to consider is other than insanity such as is recognised by the criminal law? It is quite clear from the old authorities that the reason why a man, who was found to be, insane, had not to suffer the punishment, was because he was in such a state of mind as to be irresponsible for his acts as understood by the law. Can we say that this Act intended to introduce an entirely new test into these questions of legal insanity, and to leave the matter entirely to the discretion of medical experts, after the matter had already been examined into by a judge and jury, and that when that report of the medical experts was given, the Home Secretary was bound to act upon it? How can he say he was bound to act upon it, when Sub-section (1) in terms expressly says he may do it if he think fit? How does that coincide with his statement that he was bound to act according to the law? Why is there that distinction between Sub-section (4) and Sub-section (3), which expressly provides that he must have a detailed report from these experts? Why should he have a detailed report? Why should the section in express terms say he must have a discretion in this matter? Do all these terms mean nothing? Is it not a fact that the Home Secretary was bound under this Sub-section (I) to exercise his discretion? That is the whole gravamen of my criticism of the Home Secretary's action in this matter. He says he had no discretion in the matter, and yet we find that Sub-section (1) says he may, if he think fit, order the action which, in this case, he actually did order. How, in the face of that, can he say he had no discretion? What was the effect of the Home Secretary's action? If this Committee of medical experts had reported in fact, that after the trial Ronald True had become insane—when he would come within the terms of the precedents of the old authorities he mentioned—I would have no further criticism to make, but the Home Secretary has never made any such statement. In fact, we know that one of these experts who formed this Committee, Sir Maurice Craig, has said that this man Ronald True was insane from, birth, and that, in fact, when they examined him, his state of mind was no different from his state of mind at the time he committed the act, and at the time he was tried. If he were too insane to be tried within the, meaning of these old authorities, the issue could have been raised at the trial that he was unfit to plead. But that issue was never raised at the trial. What reason, then, had the Home Secretary to go behind the back of the jury, who decided that this man was responsible in law for his acts, and to order an inquiry, and, having got that inquiry, without any evidence, without any report from that Committee that there was any change in the state of mind of this man, to supersede the decision of the jury and order this man's reprieve? That is a very important question. The law with regard to responsibility for a criminal act is definite and definitely settled, and the decision was arrived at in this case after trial by the judge and jury. Without any evidence of any change in the state of mind of this man the Home Secretary referred this same question to a decision of the medical experts, and he said, when they gave their certificate, that lie was bound to order the reprieve. That means that after a criminal action was tried, when the only issue in that action was one of insanity, when the action was gone into thoroughly by a judge and jury, who found that the man was not insane within the meaning of the criminal law—after all that is done, the Home Secretary is bound to hold an inquiry by medical experts, and when they find he is insane within the modern doctrines of so-called medical insanity, he is bound to overrule the decision of the judge and jury. Can that be the meaning of the Act? Can it be the meaning of the Act when, in express terms, it leaves a discretion in the hands of the Home Secretary? It is even stronger than that. The matter went to the Court of Criminal Appeal, and the Court of Criminal Appeal decided that the verdict of the jury was right on the question of insanity. I would like to refer to the terms of the Court of Criminal Appeal Act, 1907, because there is a very significant Section in that Act which says:"Where it appears to any two members of the visiting committee of a prison that a prisoner in such prison, not being under sentence of death, is insane, they shall call to their assistance two legally qualified medical practitioners, and such members and practitioners shall examine such prisoner and inquire as to his insanity, and after such examination and inquiry may certify in writing that he is insane."
So that even if the jury had found that this man was sane the Court of Criminal Appeal could overrule that decision on the question of fact. That is a very important power which is expressly reserved for the Court of Criminal Appeal under the Act which set up that Court. They can, on a question of fact, reverse the opinion of the jury, and in this case, apart from any question whether or not the verdict was against the weight of evidence, they could decide, as a Court of first instance, whether or not this man was insane. Yet the Court of Criminal Appeal decided that this man was responsible in law for his act. What does this mean? After a trial by a judge and jury after the verdict had been reviewed by the Court of Criminal Appeal, which had power to reverse that decision on the question of fact, and after they had decided that this man was responsible in law for his actions, then, without any evidence of any fresh facts or of any change in the state of mind of this man, the Home Secretary says that under this Act he was bound to order a new investigation by a committee of medical experts. He says that, having got their report, he was bound to free this man, although the very Section under which he was acting expressly says that he only need do this if he thinks fit, and that he may, if he thinks fit, order the removal of this man to a criminal lunatic asylum. I think I have established conclusively that in this case the Home Secretary had a discretion. If he had a discretion, then arises the very important consideration as to how this discretion should have been exercised under the Act. As the issue of this man's insanity had already been tried by a judge and jury, and by the Court of Criminal Appeal, the only other issue which the right hon. Gentleman ought to have submitted to the experts was whether there had been any change in his state of mind after trial, and he ought to have called for a report upon that. Although the verdict of the jury was as to this man's state of mind at the time he committed the act, there was the opportunity of raising the question of his state of mind at the time of his trial by putting forward the issue that he was not fit to plead. That issue was not raised. When hon. Members remember that, and in view of the statement the right hon. Gentleman has made, that there was no evidence of any change in the state of mind of this man since the trial, it really comes to this, that where, in a criminal trial, the only issue is one of insanity, and that issue is determined by a judge and jury and their verdict is upheld by the Court of Criminal Appeal, the Home Secretary is bound to put that same issue to a committee of medical experts, who apply entirely different tests; and, on their certificate, without any apparent instructions as to the tests to be applied, the right hon. Gentleman is bound to act in supersession and complete reversal of the verdict of the jury at the trial. That is a matter of very great importance in the administration of the criminal law of this country, and it is very necessary that it should be raised in the House of Commons at the present time. I have not mentioned any matters other than the strictly legal aspect of this case, and I do not desire to do so. I have no sympathy at all with the "stunt" made by the newspapers at the time. I am quite certain the Home Secretary acted entirely as he thought he was bound to do. I do not wish to criticise him upon that point. My only criticism is that he has misinterpreted this Act and misconceived his functions thereunder, and has not quoted, as he ought to have done, the relevant Subsection of the very Section under which he said he acted. The Act under which the right hon. Gentleman acted is called the Criminal Lunatics Act. Criminal lunatics! The right hon. Gentleman is bound to commit them to a criminal lunatic asylum. Yet we are told by the right hon. Gentleman that the submission he made to this committer of experts was whether or not this man was insane within the meaning of the ordinary law, so that he could be certified and removed to an asylum. Therefore the Home Secretary expressly realised that the test he put to the committee was a completely different one from that recognised by the criminal law. What justification he had for that I do not know. That is quite a different point from the one I have already raised, because, even assuming that the test the experts applied was their own test of medical insanity which is not recognised by the law, it still remains that the Home Secretary had a discretion in this matter, and I submit that that discretion ought to have been exercised. The whole of this Act, under which the Home Secretary said he acted, relates to criminal lunatics. What reason is there to assume that the insanity referred to in that Act is other than insanity such as is recognised by the criminal law? We have it that the experts have to make a detailed and reasoned report as to their decision. Can we say that the Home Secretary ought not to have submitted to them an inquiry whether or not this man was insane within the meaning of the criminal law? Whether or not the right hon. Gentleman ought to have done that does not affect the question that he should have acted upon considerations of whether or not this man ought to have been held responsible for his acts, and whether or not his condition came within the ordinary definition of insanity such as is understood by the criminal law. This raises a very important point in the administration of our law, because if the right hon. Gentleman is right in his contention, then by submitting this question to a new tribunal, which acted on fresh tests, the whole issue tried by the jury was worthless and entirely unnecessary. Why have the trial at all? Why not, in the first instance, when this question arose, leave the matter to the medical experts? The authorities whom the Home Secretary quoted state that a man shall not be arraigned if he is insane, and if he is insane after conviction he ought not to be punished. In this case the man was arraigned; the issue as to whether or not he was fit to be arraigned was never raised; and after he was arraigned the issue of insanity was tried by the jury. There is no evidence at all to show any change in his state of mind. The effect of the Home Secretary's decision is to render this trial by the judge and jury, and the review of that trial by the Court of Criminal Appeal, absolutely unnecessary. That is a very serious question. If we are going to have questions of responsibility in law of crime decided by medical experts, on tests not recognised by the law, that is a matter which ought to be raised in this House, and is one upon which the House should have an opportunity of giving an opinion."If on any appeal it appears to the Court of Criminal Appeal that, although the appellant was guilty of the act or omission charged against him, he was insane at the time the act was done or omission made so as not to be responsible according to the law for his actions, the Court may quash the sentence passed at the trial and order the appellant to be kept in custody as a criminal lunatic under the Trial of Lunatics Act, 1883, in the same manner as if a special verdict had been found by the jury under that Act."
I am very glad to have the opportunity of dealing with this matter. I gather that my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastl-under-Lymne (Colonel Wedgwood)—the inferior Newcastle—has suggested that he would like to have a statement as to the difference between the True case and the Jacoby case. I am glad to have the opportunity of dealing with and correcting misstatements of fact with regard to Jacoby which have appeared in the public Press. I gather from what my hon. and gallant Friend has said that he thinks that in dealing with the point raised I have been mistaken in my law. If so, I am glad to say that I have been mistaken in very good company, in the company of a number of the most respected of His Majesty's judges. There is no question of the certificate of a doctor upsetting the verdict of the jury. It does not touch it. The verdict of the jury stands as it stood before. If True were to become sane tomorrow he would go hack to prison, and there is nothing in law to prevent his being hanged. There is no question of touching the verdict of the jury.Since the Court of Criminal Appeal came into being there have been 11 cases where the defence was insanity, and where the jury found against the defence of insanity, as in this case, and where subsequently the prisoner was respited on the ground that he was insane. In eight of these cases where the jury had found against the defence of insanity, the judge and the Court of Appeal, or both, said that the verdict of the jury was right., and that they could not find any evidence that the man was legally insane, therefore it could not be given as insane, but the Court drew the attention of the Home Secretary to eight out of the 11 cases in order that the Home Secretary might act under this Act—just exactly as in this case! What is it upon which my hon. and gallant Friend bases his suggestion that I had a discretion in the matter at all? The law in regard to the treatment of insane persons is part of the common law of the land. It is not statutory law at all. This Sub-section (1) that my hon. and gallant Friend quoted deals with criminal lunatics of all kinds and not merely with criminal lunatics who are murderers. If a man gets a month and goes insane, he becomes a criminal lunatic. Supposing a criminal in prison goes mad, and there was no Sub-section (1), the prison authorities would have to go round, cap in hand, to the various asylums and say, "Will you take this madman out of the prison hospital into your asylum?" and the asylum authorities could, if they thought fit, say, "No, keep him in your prison hospital." Sub-section (1) gives the Secretary of State power, wherever he thinks necessary, as in long sentence cases, or in cases of that sort, to say to any asylum in the land, "Here is a criminal lunatic; you have to take him." That is the whole object of this section. It is idle to say, because you have a discretion as to whether you will force an asylum to take a man who is perhaps doing one month or three months, who, it may be, will be out of prison in a few weeks and therefore we do not bother to send him to the asylum—though the law gives us the power to force a man on the lunatic asylum authorities—you have a discretion as to whether he is to be hanged or not. That is perfectly ridiculous! In regard to the question of Jacoby, it has been said of me in the Press—because this matter has not, been raised here—that Jacoby was a young lad of 17. I think it is common knowledge now that that was quite wrong. He was three weeks off 19. It was said that he was acting merely from panic, and that he was not a quite mentally sound young boy, and that—what is far more important—I have taken no trouble in his case to find out whether he was sane or insane. That I look upon as far the worst part of the accusation the Press has made against me. What are the facts? Take first his mental condition. He was most carefully and thoroughly examined in Brixton Prison by a very highly experienced prison doctor, who was one of the chief witnesses certifying to the insanity of True in his trial. Dr. East examined him most carefully and gave me a most carefully prepared report on his condition. He certified that he was absolutely sane and above the normal in intelligence. In addition to that—because Jacoby was not the poor, friendless, penniless youth he was made out to he—in addition to that, those responsible for his defence went to a well-known mental expert, one of the chief men who gave evidence that, True was insane, and that same man carefully examined him. He refused to say anything in evidence except that Jacoby was perfectly sane. That was what happened before the conviction. After the conviction I was determined still to be perfectly safe. He was in Pentonville. I had him carefully examined for the third time by a highly experienced doctor, who absolutely confirmed what the other two doctors had said. The result was this: Here was a young fellow, nearly 19, who had been carefully examined by three great experts ail of whom had described him as absolutely sane. I think it is a little unfair after that to say that I took no interest in the matter of his mental condition. In regard to the facts, it was said the jury knew all the facts of the case. I saw a letter in a newspaper written by an hon. Member who sits opposite, who said that the jury knew all the facts. They did not know all the facts of the case, and very properly they did not know all the facts of the case. They did not know the antecedents, they did not know the story of previous robberies of like description, and many things which would have prejudiced their minds when they were arriving at the decision as to whether he was guilty or not. Therefore the jury did not know everything. In this case there were two stories told by Jacoby himself, one to the police voluntarily given, written down and read over carefully to him and signed by him and given as the true story. There was the story told at the trial which gave rise to the suggestion that he had merely acted from panic, and that when he struck the blow he was panic stricken. The judge asked the jury—and I am not arguing now or departing from the custom that it is not usual to discuss the advice given to the King in these matters—I merely state what are the facts of the case as disclosed in the shorthand notes of the trial—the judge asked the jury this question: "Do you accept the story he has told to-day or do you accept the story as true which he told the police?" The jury's answer was perfectly definite, that they believed what he had told at the trial was untrue, and that what he had told the police was true. I will read a few words of what he told the police. He said that he thought there were men in the house. Having gone to the porter to see, and having gone back to his bedroom, he described how he waited for some time in his bedroom, he then said:
Here was the case of this young man going to commit a robbery upstairs, not the first he had committed by his own confession to the police, and he deliberately went to the toolhouse. In another part of his statement he says that he took up two tools which he thought were not sufficiently deadly, and then he picked up the hammer, and he went upstairs prepared to use that hammer if he was caught in an emergency. f am not arguing whether I was right or wrong, but I wish to put right certain statements which have been made by giving a statement of the facts. I have told the House without any deductions or arguments the facts as they were at the trial, and the House will be better able to judge how far I was right or wrong in dealing with these two cases."Whilst I was sitting on the bed I made up my mind to go upstairs to the visitors' bedrooms to go and try to get some money, to steal it if there was any there. It occurred to me to prepare for emergency in case I got caught up there, so I thought T would take a hammer with me and use it if I was caught, and if I did use it, to blame the affair on to the men whose voices I thought I heard in the kitchen."
Major CHRISTOPHER LOWTHER
Is it not a fact that the jury recommended Jacoby to mercy on the ground that when he went into the room he did not intend to commit murder, and how does the right hon. Gentleman reconcile with that the statement he made that the tale which was told by Jacoby to the police was not the tale told in Court?
Perhaps I had better read what was said by the judge to the jury on this point.
Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will also give the reference to the recommendation to mercy.
This is the extract:
THE FOREMAN OF THE JURY: Yes, Sir." It was on that I based the statement that the jury accepted what he told the police. According to the report the jury said:"MR. JUSTICE MCARDIE: You must make up your minds about a further point. You have already, I gather, rejected his evidence; you are satisfied that he was speaking the truth when he told Mr. Connell and the other police officers what really happened?
That may be so, but at the same time he took the hammer, and it was for the purpose of an emergency if he was caught. Hon. Members can form their own conclusions."They recommended him to mercy because he did not intend to kill when he went upstairs."
Were the medical experts the same who gave evidence at the trial?
No, they were two highly experienced prison doctors. Sir James Baker and Sir Maurice Craig, and neither of them gave evidence at the trial and they were absolutely independent.
Surely Sir Maurice Craig was called to give evidence at the Old Bailey?
No. I am pretty certain about that.
Major C. LOWTHER
The Home Secretary has already dealt with some of the points which I intended to raise this evening during the course of this opportunity given to Members, but he has not really touched the point. which so forcibly strikes public opinion in this matter. Although I am not in a position to speak for public opinion all over the country, I do not think that the question of whether Jacoby was sane or not ever entered the heads of the majority of people.
Do I understand that the Home Secretary has finished his statement? If he has not, it is really very inconvenient to have so much debate.
I have quite finished.
I have called upon the hon. and gallant Member for Cumberland.
My point is that the public conscience was in a large measure shocked by the fact that the Home Secretary did not in this instance exercise the prerogative which is happily his. On this matter I am not speaking entirely without my book, because the "Law Journal" on this point says:
I claim that that is about as strong a condemnation as could possibly be expressed of the Home Secretary's action in this matter. It is complained by a great many people in this country that, while the Home Office is too lenient in some cases, it is too severe in others. Unhappily, this is not the first case of the kind that has arisen. On previous occasions cases have been brought to the notice of this House which I will not weary the Committee with now, but this is a culminating instance. I maintain that, whatever the Home Secretary may say on the matter, the jury who heard the evidence are in a better position to judge of the merits of the case than any official in the Home Office who may read the shorthand notes of the evidence or the reports in the Press. That is my point. To the jury is entrusted a great responsibility, and, having taken that responsibility, they ought to be trusted to express an opinion which shall have a great and even an overwhelming weight with the Home Secretary. I say the Home Secretary is exceeding his function when he goes against an opinion which the jury has strongly expressed. I had intended to develop this matter further, but the Home Secretary, in many instances, has given me the information I was going to ask for, and I will merely suggest to him, in conclusion, that he should put before the heads of departments in the Home Office the paragraph from the "Law Journal" which I have just read, and I would also ask him to bear in mind himself what Shakespeare said when he declared that"If Mr. Shortt has not distinguished himself in the exercise of his semi-judicial functions during his tenure of Office as Home Secretary, it is to be attributed to the anomalies which surround the post, increased as they have been, by the constitution of the Court of Criminal Appeal, rather than to any lack of legal perception or humanitarian feeling on his own part. The waning credit of the Home Office as the dispensing authority for the exercise of the Royal Prerogative has received a fresh shock from the failure to appreciate at its proper value the overwhelming opinion in favour of the remission of the death sentence on the boy Jacoby, or to give effect to the recommendation of the jury to mercy on the ground that his crime was not premeditated, nor was there any intention to kill when he struck the blow which caused Lady White's death. The law, as things stand with us, cannot distinguish between the varying degrees of culpability in matters which concern the taking of human life, but it has hitherto been the saving grace of our criminal system that the last word is not with the law as it is expressed in the textbooks, hut with the responsible Minister of Justice who exercises the King's prerogative of mercy—which nowadays is not an arbitrary discretion, but the expression of the public conscience. If that conscience is offended, as it has been in this latest instance, the injury that is done is not confined to the particular case—it extends to the whole administration of justice, which is weakened, and not strengthened, by the strict enforcement of the legal penalty regardless of all considerations of humanity or extenuating circumstance."
"The quality of mercy is not strained."
Captain WEDGWOOD BENN
We have been discussing a very important matter touching the advice tendered by the Home Secretary in the exercise of the prerogative. This, no doubt, is quite in order, but I should like to take particular note of the fact at this moment, because on another occasion, in Supply. we may wish to question advice offered by another Minister to His Majesty in the exercise of the prerogative.
That, I think, is scarcely a point of Order. The hon. and gallant Gentleman has made a statement, but there is nothing for me to rule upon.
It is not my intention to follow on the lines that the Debate has proceeded during the last hour. I desire to raise another matter of importance, and I shall depart entirely from the question of the dead and talk about the living. I wish to raise one or two questions, and the first is one I have been asked to bring forward by a large body of men who are concerned in the working of the buses and tramways of London. This question affects the interests first of the companies, secondly of the employés, and, thirdly, of the general public. I am submitting this case entirely on behalf of the employés, the conductors and motor-men engaged in working the traffic in the London streets. The position is this. Prior to the War period, a rule was strictly enforced that vehicles licensed to carry a certain number of passengers should only be allowed to carry the number certified and no more. That was strictly observed, and, therefore, if a bus was certified to carry 48 passengers only 48 were allowed to be carried. During the War period, however, the shortage of vehicles, and the difficulty of conducting business, was responsible for an Order being given by which a certain number of passengers were allowed to stand in the buses or trams. At the time, of course, no one found fault with that Order. The practice was continued right. up to a certain period, I think until September last year, when an agitation had arisen, and finally the Home Secretary issued an Order that the buses should be allowed to carry five standing passengers, while there was no limit as to the number the trams could carry. That Order was to extend for six months. It was made in September, 1921, and expired on the 31st March, 1922. In the ordinary condition of things, therefore, the rule that there should be no standing passengers ought now to be in force, and, as it is not, I am not at all certain whether the Home Secretary ought not to prosecute himself for a violation of the law. I maybe wrong in my interpretation of the position, but at any rate he ought to forbid any violation of the law. Yet he has held over the Order since the 31st March last. He has issued no new Order, and, consequently, the condition of affairs by which standing passengers are allowed continues. Either a new Order ought to be issued, or the existing law ought to be obeyed. That is the position as I see it. We here, of course, represent the public, and if the law is strictly enforced I may be the first victim, That, however, does not matter. Right must be done.I am taking this matter up on behalf of the men, and at the request of their Union, because we feel there is really no necessity for a continuation of what I call a violation of the law. The omnibuses now on the streets are mostly of the new type of construction, and to allow passengers to stand in the centre makes it very difficult indeed for the conductor to perform his ditty of collecting fares, and to do his other work. It also causes inconvenience to the passengers who have to stand; it is very trying to their patience. We say that if the traffic is larger, the companies oughtto put on more omnibuses and thus deal with the traffic as it arises. A more important point may be mentioned in connection with this, and it is this: the more omnibuses that are employed, and the more trams that are put on the roads, the more persons are required to work them, and, in these days when there so much unemployment, it is important that as many of the unemployed as possible should be absorbed. Therefore, the conductors are pressing this matter to an issue on these two points—firstly, that it invloves extra duties and difficulty in carrying out their work, and secondly, that it increases the volume of unemployment. So far as the trams are concerned, there is no limit to the number allowed to stand. Often they are so crowded that it is very difficult to get along at all, and it is marvellous how the conductors are able to collect the fares and carry out their duties. The next point that I desire to raise is one that may not, perhaps, be considered to be within the province of the Home Secretary, though I think it is. With regard to the new omnibuses now on the road, those of the "K" and "S" types, the complaint is made by the motormen that they are very injurious to health. In the old type of omnibus the engine was in front of the man, but in the new types the engine is right underneath the driver's feet, and it becomes so hot, and makes it so difficult for the man to perform his work, that it is very trying to him, and sickness increases in consequence. I am requested to ask the right hon. Gentleman to cause an inquiry to he made into the effect of the changed posi- tion, and the inconvenience and risk of sickness. It is said even that there have been a good many deaths. The men get very hot—it has been described as like the warm room of a Turkish bath—and then, having to be exposed to climatic conditions on returning to their homes, they suffer in consequence from colds and chills. The next matter to which I want to draw the attention of the Home Secretary is the question of factory inspection. The Home Secretary is aware that the docks Regulations which were brought into existence some years ago depend entirely upon a certain number of factory inspectors. My complaint is that, whether it is on account of economy, or whether it is because there is no desire to enforce the Regulations, there is a clear indication of relaxation here. I am not complaining that the Home Secretary is not alive to his duties or aware of the difficulties that exist, but simply that there is not a sufficient number of inspectors to carry out the work that is required for the enforcement of the Regulations. An inspector in our docks is like a policeman on his beat. The fact that the policeman is on his beat will possibly deter burglars or thieves from entering premises if they know that the place is being watched. An inspector is very much in that position, and Regulations will not be violated if those who desire to violate them, or might do so unintentionally, are made more careful by his presence. If it were a mere matter of carrying on the work rapidly or otherwise, perhaps we should not trouble, but when it becomes a question of life—because many accidents have occurred and are occurring which, in my opinion, could and would have been prevented—or a question of injury, we say that the cost of the inspector is justified. We know of defective gangways, of defective ladders in the ships' holds; we know of cases in which workmen have to descend at the risk of their lives; and if a record were given of the number of accidents that have occurred in our docks within the last few years, it would be found that most of them could have been prevented. I am bringing this question forward in order that the Home Office may take into consideration the number of inspectors they have working to-day. I notice, from the Report that is before us, that the number has been reduced. In 1921–22 it was 90, and I take it that that number includes those inspectors with whom I am concerned. There are now 86, showing a reduction of four. What we have always claimed, and what we desire to bring to the notice of the Home Secretary in regard to an increase in the number of inspectors, is that men should be engaged who have a practical knowledge of dock work. It is all very well to have an inspector who can speak two or three languages, or who has passed with honours through the university, but we want a man who knows one end of a ship from the other, who knows where defects exist, who can tell exactly what is likely to result in an accident, and who has the power to enforce the law. The Regulations are a dead letter unless they are enforced in the strictest sense of the word. When they were brought into existence the work was carried out actively. Men were apportioned for dock work and nothing else, they became accustomed to it, were skilled in it and understood it, and they did splendid work, reducing the number of accidents in our docks very considerably. We want to return to that condition of affairs. We want to get the men apportioned, and if there are not enough, more should be engaged who would specialise in dock work. With our great system of docks throughout the country, and with the great number of foreign ships that are coming and will again come into our ports, it is absolutely necessary that the life of the dock worker shall be safeguarded, and that the Regulations which were brought into existence for the very purpose of protecting the workers should be enforced. Otherwise, it would be better to wipe them out altogether.
The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir John Baird)
Perhaps I may deal at once with the points which have been raised by the hon. Gentleman. As regards omnibuses, the matter is at the present moment under consideration by the Commissioner, Who is meeting the people interested. The question is not as simple as it might appear, because the amount of traffic has increased so much on the streets that the question of increasing still further the number of large vehicles is not one which can be embarked upon without a great deal of consideration, otherwise one might. do more harm than good. As regards the question of docks, we yield to no one in the determination to see that working in the docks, as, indeed, working in the factories and in every other branch of industry, is rendered as safe as it possibly can be by enforcing Regulations and by ensuring that the safety appliances are of the most up-to-date and perfect character. The difficulty, of course, of dealing with the docks as a separate unit is that the number of clocks is very small as compared with the number of workshops and factories, and just as an inspector has to qualify and be trained to inspect all the various factories in his district, some have to put dock inspection as part of the routine of work of men serving under the Factory Inspection Department. Inspection of docks and wharves are more frequent than the inspection of factories. As regards numbers, it is true the number of inspectors is not as large to-day as it was a short time ago. That does not apply only to dock inspectors. It applies to inspectors of factories as well. It arises from the fact that there is a certain number of vacancies which have not been filled. There would be justification for very serious complaint if the result had been increased accidents, but fortunately the figures show that the reverse is the case. In the year 1913 there were 145 fatal accidents at the docks, and in 1914, 157. It is satisfacory to find that in 1920 that number had fallen to 118, and last year it was 69. it will readily occur to hon. Members that that is partly due to decreased activity.
Could the hon. Baronet tell us how many cases of death or accident have arisen through defects in the Regulations?
Sir J. BAIRD
These are fatal accidents at the docks. If I can give more information I shall be delighted to do it but I rather think the figures I have given cover the point. At the docks, just as at the factories, we are daily and constantly engaged in endeavouring to secure greater safety by improvement in the appliances, increase of guards, and all the safety devices which everyone connected with factories and docks is familiar with, and we are, undoubtedly, making progress in that direction. I think the figures I have read indicate that there is a very satisfactory diminution in the accidents, but I should be very sorry if the Committee imagine for a moment that we are satisfied. We shall never be satisfied. Obviously, it is our business not to be satisfied so long as there are accidents, and our business is to take every step to sec that accidents are reduced as far as is humanly possible.The hon. Member for Spen Valley (Mr. Myers) and the hon. and gallant. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) referred with satisfaction to the progress that has been made in regard to probation. With the greater part of what they said, I am in cordial agreement, and I thank them for the satisfactory impression that they gave of the progress that has been made. I should like, on the other hand, to guard against the idea that lack of money is the only difficulty which we encounter in endeavouring to extend, as we are endeavouring to extend, the probation system. Lack of money is, undoubtedly, a factor, as pointed out in the Report of the Departmental Committee, hut it is by no means the only question. The human factor is so very important in matters of probation that even if you had unlimited funds at your disposal you could not guarantee to have a satisfactory probation system, for two reasons. In the first place, the kind of men and women who are most successful as probation officers are not to be found easily. You cannot get them by advertising in the public Press, or in commonplace ways of that sort. In order to carry out the duties with which they are entrusted, they must be men and women who feel a special vocation for that particular kind of work, and it was made quite clear from the inquiry held by the Departmental Committee that only men and women of that sort are any good for the work. A further thing which was made clear, and it is extremely satisfactory, was that an immense number of admirable men and women are at This moment devoting their lives to this work, with an increasing and most satisfactory amount of success, to which a tribute was paid by the two hon. Members. In the second place probation work cannot be put upon the same footing as a business or a career. I do not want to be misunderstood, and I hope that I shall not be misunderstood, when I say that it is much more in the nature of missionary work, work that people of a certain stamp, and having a certain outlook upon life, and a certain mentality, can undertake. Money with them is not the important thing. They must have that enthusiasm for their work, and without that enthusiasm they had much better not attempt to do this difficult work of probation. It, is, undoubtedly, true that the pay of probation officers has been inadequate, and attention is drawn to that in the Report of the Departmental Committee. In this connection, as in others, it is very easy to say that in spending money upon probation you probably save money on other Votes. You would probably reduce the number of people convicted of crime, and who are kept in prison at great expense to the State. That I believe, but I cannot prove it, and when one cannot prove a case one has to go carefully, and one cannot embark light-heartedly upon expenditure which, though you believe it is thoroughly justified, does, for the moment, increase the cost of the State. Prohibition work is done by men and women who are selected by the justices, and paid by the local authorities. It is unwise for Members of Parliament to interfere and seek to impose upon local authorities financial burdens which we know we are not going to bear ourselves. What we have done with a view to trying to foster an interest in probation work, and to ensure that the fullest possible advantage should be taken of this very excellent part of our system for dealing with offenders, is to circulate among all the police authorities and local authorities the Report of the Departmental Committee, drawing attention to the various aspects of it and expressing the hope that, so far as they can see their way to do so, local authorities will adopt the various recommendations. We have to proceed carefully in a matter of this kind. Local authorities are jealous of their own rights. They will not accept dictation from the Home Office, and we have no right to dictate to them, on matters of this kind. But the Home Office has set up an Advisory Committee and we have got a paid secretary. That is the only additional expenditure that has resulted from the Report. We have got a paid whole-time officer in the Home Office, as secretary of the Advisory Committee, and he will be at the disposal of any local authorities who care to consult him as indeed they can also do in the case of any members of the Advisory Committee. A Sub-committee has been set up to deal with the question of probation in London which, as hon. Members know, is carried on directly under the Home Office with a view to revising the salaries of the probation officers, and the recommendations of the Sub-committee are in accordance with the recommendations of the Departmental Committee. They have been submitted to my right hon. Friend, and I hope that before very long he will see his way to carry them into effect. As the subject is one of great importance and of interest to many Members of this House I thought it right to make this statement.
Mr. CHARLES EDWARDS
I wish to bring before the Home Secretary a matter with which I am not sure that he is well acquainted. Last week at the Monmouth-shire Assizes a number of young men were prosecuted for riot and roughly handling the manager of the Nine Mile Point Colliery in Monmouthshire. That is the old colliery in which I used to act as check weigher. We used to get on very well without actions of this kind. I have no intention of trying to defend or justify such actions, but I do want to put in a plea for these young men. I know them and know their parents well. There has never been any trouble in any of these families before, and some of these parents are broken-hearted to-day because for the first time their sons are in prison. I think that three have been sent to prison for six months, and others for three, four and five months. The wife of one of these young men is in a very serious condition of health, suffering from a disease from which she is not expected to recover, and so impressed was the judge that, although the case finished on a Thursday, he deferred sentence until Saturday to enable that young man to be at home, as much as possible. Unfortunately, he is one of those who have been sentenced to six months' imprisonment, and the wife's sufferings are so much the worse because her husband is in prison.One or two of these boys I knew when they were in school. They were brought up in the Sunday schools where I used to attend. They have never been in trouble in their lives before. Their mothers and fathers were members of the same church. They got into this excited crowd on that particular morning and, of course, got into trouble and have been sentenced. I would ask the Home Secretary if he would Took into these cases with a view to the remission of the sentences. The incident occurred about three months ago, and as the men have been out of work the whole of that time with this prosecution hanging over their heads, I think that they have suffered sufficient already. I believe that this prosecution, conviction and sentence have been sufficient to ensure that this sort of thing will not occur again. I take it that we do not want to keep men in prison from sheer vindictiveness, if we can be sure that the lesson has been learned and that the men's future conduct will be all that can be desired. If the Home Secretary would prefer that I should see him privately and discuss individual cases, I would be pleased to do so. I know these men and their past conduct well, and I know that there is nothing vicious or mad in their make-up.
Sir C. WARNER
The answer to the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Wignall) as to London 'buses was not satisfactory. It was suggested that the regulations allowing people to stand were continued in force because there were more 'buses to be put on the streets. If more 'buses were put on the streets, instead of adding to the congestion they would decrease it. The more 'buses there are the fewer taxi-cabs are used and the fewer private vehicles. It is not an argument to say that the extra 'buses would crowd the streets, for they really relieve the traffic. 'Buses are used today by hundreds of people who each took a separate taxi-cab before the War. That sort of thing is to be encouraged. The more convenient the 'buses are made the easier will be the traffic in the streets. I have been a very frequent traveller in 'buses. I know from my own experience and from conversations with conductors that it is a great grievance with the conductors that people should be allowed to stand. It is very difficult for the conductors to collect fares and it is very uncomfortable for the passengers. The new 'bus was found fault with because the driver sat on the top of the engine. I believe the latest 'bus is an improvement on that which was made about a year ago. The real grievance is that there is not room for a big man to drive a 'bus comfortably, and that he wants a little more room for his legs. I would like to add my plea to what was said by the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean. These are all important matters, and I trust the 'bus regulations will be altered so as to get the 'bus companies to put more 'buses on the streets.
If this Debate has done nothing else, it has served the extremely useful purpose of showing how much the comfort and happiness and convenience of this country depend upon the administration of the Home Office. When I was listening to the hon. Member for Bedwelty (Mr. Charles Edwards), I could not help thinking what a great thing it was that in this House a man should be able to stand up and bring the details of so homely a case before a Minister of the Crown who is responsible for the administration of justice. No more valuable function could be performed by the House of Commons. The speech of the Parliamentary Secretary, together with the speeches that elicited it, presented the Home Office in a very interesting and attractive light. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, with whom I have the honour to share the representation of the greater Newcastle, has many great and responsible duties—duties that very few men would care to have placed on their shoulders; and in their discharge he frequently meets with comments which, in the opinion not only of his friends but of many who have not that privilege, are entirely unjustifiable. I like to think of the Home Secretary, not so much as the administrator of justice, but as the principal welfare worker in this country. I listened to the speech of the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Wignall) and realised how in those great gates of entrance into this country, our harbours and ports, the lives and the health of many of our hardest workers are under the right hon. Gentleman's charge. That is an aspect of his work to which more public attention and more public credit might be given.The same remark applies to factory inspection. I had the privilege not long ago of being present on the occasion of well-merited honour being done to the first woman factory inspector in this country. The Under-Secretary will remember the occasion because he forced it with a tribute which was as handsome as it was deserved. I shall always recollect, hearing among the speeches at that event, the speech of a woman worker in one of the factories of Lancashire, who recalled some of her earliest experiences when she first came into contact with the factory inspector. She told us how much it meant in the comfort and happiness of her class—that organisation which is under the administration of my right hon. Friend. As I say, I prefer to look upon him as a welfare worker rather than as a policeman. There is another aspect in which he appears and in which he is not quite so familiar to the country—that is in the aspect of brewer. The Home Secretary is one of the principal brewers of the country. I believe he has delegated the main responsibility of that task to his colleague, the Under-Secretary, and I wish to address to that hon. Member a question or two to which I hope he will return as prompt an answer as he has returned to other queries in the course of the Debate. The Home Secretary and the Under-Secretary are charged under the Licensing Act with the duties formerly Performed by the Central Control Board. Part II of the Licensing Act, Section 113, Sub-section (4), provides that the Secretary of State shall cause such accounts to he kept in relation to the State-managed districts as the Treasury may direct.
There is a separate Vote dealing with that matter, and therefore I fear the hon. and gallant Member is not in order in raising it on the present Vote.
I was not proposing to go into the question of the administration of the State-managed districts. I know a separate Vote is down for that, but in this Vote we are considering the salary of the Secretary of State, and I submit with great deference, that in discussing that salary, some reference may be made to the duties for which he receives that well-earned salary.
I am afraid that is not so. Where a Minister is charged with extraneous duties, for which a separate Vote is provided, the discharge of those duties cannot be discussed upon the salary of his principal and proper office.
I was in some uncertainty as to whether or not I was going beyond the scope of the Vote. Before you take an absolutely final decision, Sir, may I refer you to the Estimates. There is an Estimate for State-managed districts, which is Vote 30 and is to be found on page 205 of these. Estimates. If you will be good enough to refer, Mr. Hope, to that Vote, you will see that on page 206 there is an item which is described as being included under the Home Office, and then, if I might refer you to the actual Vote which is under discussion, which is on page 39, or, rather, on page 31, there is an item there: "Office accommodation (Buildings, Furniture, Fuel and Light, etc.), Class I, 10," which is the item referred to on page 206. The point I submit is whether that attachment of the one account to the other does not permit of my remarks on the subject I was proposing to raise.
I do not find this either on page 31 or on page 39.
On page 31 there is an item: "Office accommodation (Building, Furniture, Fuel, and Light, etc.), Class I, 10" which is clearly the item referred to on page 206.
I do not see the connection between the duties of the Home Secretary and the offices which the Office of Works has provided for him. I admire the hon. and gallant Member's ingenuity, but I am afraid, all the same, I must rule him out of order.
I submit to your ruling, Sir, but it did occur to me that duties were performed in those offices and that those offices were there for the performance of the duties. I regret I am debarred from proceeding, because I had some very interesting comments to make, and I can only hope that before we come to the Report Stage of the Finance Bill the Vote which would permit an inquiry into the State-managed districts, and, therefore, into the cost of the production of beer, might come before the Committee and enable us to elicit some very useful information which the Home Secretary could give us, and—
The hon. and gallant Member is now dealing with the very topic which is proscribed.
In the circumstances I think it is unwise for me to proceed further.
We have had a very long and very interesting discussion on questions of Home Office policy, but I do not think we have yet started to examine into the finances of this particular Vote, and as it is our bounden duty from time to time to examine, as carefully and meticulously as we can, the various items of expenditure on this Vote, there are certain items which seem to me to call for explanation before we agree, if we do finally agree, to allow the Home Secretary to have his Vote tonight. There has been within the past few days a considerable amount of discussion on the question of the Honours List, and I notice in the Home Office Vote that there are two items which raise the question of, at any rate, two classes of honours. Under Sub-head G, we have what is set out as the Roll of the Baronetage. In connection with that, there is a sum of £135 provided for the remuneration of the Assistant Registrar. I do not see any item in the accounts for the salary of a Registrar. Perhaps there is a Registrar for this particular roll of honour which is borne on some other Vote. It may be that this particular person has specific duties connected with the Home Office. What I should like to know is, what is the connection between the Home Office and the Baronetage? Why is the Roll of the Baronetage kept at the Home Office, and what has my right hon. Friend got to do with the Baronet-age? It may be, of course, that my right hon. Friend has nothing to do with it, except to record these particular distinctions. I do not know why they record them at the Home Office, unless it is a new class of criminals about which my right hon. Friend must have specific information. At any rate, I should like to know why this falls under his province.Under Sub-head H my right hon. Friend is also responsible for another of the degrees of honours in this country, namely, the Order of the British Empire. That seems to be under his control, too. I do now know why he keeps a record of the members of the Order of the British Empire, or whether it is that he only takes the finger-prints of the members of the Order for some future purposes, as to which I can only speculate. At any rate, there is an expenditure under Subhead H of £205—which is a slight reduction of £31 from last year—for the remuneration of the Acting Secretary, including bonus. With great respect, many of us thought it was a great mistake to widen the sphere of distinctions in this country, but, of course, that is a question I cannot discuss on this Vote. At any rate, it involves, apparently, not only the salary for the Acting Secretary, but a bonus as well for this particular individual, whoever he may be. While the total amount is less, I notice that the incidental expenses remain the same. I am rather curious to know why that is so, because in another part of the Vote the numbers are given both for the Baronetage, and also for the Order of the British Empire, and, as far as I can make out, I presume the number given in the column for 1922–23 is the number of honours for this particular year. It is less than 1921–22, both for the Roll of the Baronetage and for the Order of the British Empire. I can quite understand that whichever official has to do with either of those duties must, of course, receive a salary as long as he is the official concerned with it, but I do not understand why, the incidental expenses ought to be the same if the number included in the Order of the British Empire this year is so much less than that of last year. On page 30, under H, we find that in 1922–23 there was apparently 305 honours conferred under the Order of the British Empire as against 336 in 1921–22, and under the Roll of the Baronetage.
Those figures are pounds.
That makes it worse. Perhaps my right hon. Friend can explain the questions I put to him—why he requires to keep the Rolls of the Baronet-age and of the Order of the British Empire With regard to the salary—
Sir J. BAIRD
Where is it?
It is on page 38. I am not surprised, as the Under-Secretary does not know that he has anything to do with the Order of the British Empire, that he does not know upon what page of the Vote to find the reference. Now he has found that he is responsible for the Vote for the Order of the British Empire, he will be able to reply to my questions.I should like to turn from the Roll of the Baronetage and the Order of the British Empire to the wages of the charwomen, which appear on page 33. I have taken an interest in the wages of charwomen ever since I came to this House. There are some figures on this page which require explanation from the Home Secretary. On page 33, there are set out various officials under the Office Keeper's Staff in the Home, Office, and there are some remarkable comparisons with regard to the office held and the wage paid. We have always been led to understand that the Government are model employers, both in regard to the wages paid and the hours served. Hon. Members will find in this particular section of the Vote that there is for the year 1922–23 only one girl messenger employed, as against four last year. We congratulate any Department which reduces its messengers in the excellent proportion of from four to one. This particular girl receives 35s. 6d. per week inclusive. I presume, as she is described as a "girl messenger," that she is a girl of tender years. I have no objection at all to this particular girl messenger getting this sum of money. If you look at the next item, that of charwomen, you will find at least 32 charwomen. Their numbers have not been reduced. Apparently it has been possible to reduce the number of messengers in this particular Department who carry the messages from one Department to another, but it has not been possible to make any economy in the number of women required to clean these particular offices. If hon. Members look at the remuneration, they will see these women only receive 15s. 6d. a week.
It is part-time payment.
It is quite true that it is part-time payment. The charwomen have to be out before the officials come in. The charwomen are much longer in the offices than the officials—we know that! If you divide the figure, you see it works out at 2s. 6d. or 2s. 7d. a day paid to the charwomen. That remunera- tion is not princely. If the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary will look a little lower on the page he will see that there are a certain number of labourers engaged by or at the Home Office, and one of these receives 34s. weekly—personal to himself! I do not know whether he does any work at the Home Office? "The labourer," we know, "is worthy of his hire." [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!"] I am glad to remind hon. Gentlemen of literature which they apparently read. Will the hon. Gentleman explain why it is this labourer gets 34s. and the
Division No. 193.]
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Newson, Sir Percy Wilson|
|Baird, Sir John Lawrence||Gould, James C.||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Sir Hamar||Parker, James|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||Grenfell Edward Charles||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Barrand, A. R.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray.|
|Bartley-Denniss. Sir Edmund Robert||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Preston, Sir W. R.|
|Bull, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Purchase, H. G.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)||Remer, J. R.|
|Benn, Capt. Sir I. H., Bart. (Gr'nw'h)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Richardson. Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey).|
|Birchall, J. Dearman||Hinds, John||Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes, Stretford)|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Hohier, Gerald Fitzroy||Rose, Frank H.|
|Bird, Sir William B. M. (Chichester)||Hood, Sir Joseph||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Hopkins, John W. W.||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney).|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Bride Oman. Rt. Hon. William Clive||Hurd, Percy A.||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Jephcott, A. R.||Seddon, J. A.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)|
|Bruton, Sir James||Johnson, Sir Stanley||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Johnstone, Joseph||I Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Burdon. Colonel Rowland||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George||Stewart, Gershom|
|Carr, W. Theodore||Kenyon, Barnet||Sturrock, J. Lang|
|Casey, T. W.||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Sugden, W. H.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Klnioch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Child, Brigadier-General Sir Hill||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)||Sykes, Sir Charles (Huddersfield)|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Lindsay, William Arthur||Taylor, J.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Lloyd, George Butler||Terrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham)|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K,||Locker-Lampson, Corn. O. (H'tingd'n)||Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey))|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Lort-Williams, J.||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill).|
|Coote, Colin Relth (Isle of Ely)||Loseby, Captain C. E.||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||Lyle, C. E. Leonard||Tryon. Major George Clement|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Lyre-Samuel, Alexander||Vickers, Douglas|
|Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)||M' Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.||Waddington, R.|
|Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James L.||Ward, William Dudley (Southampton).|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Manville, Edward||Waring, Major Walter|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Marriott, John Arthur Ransom)||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Mason, Robert||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Edge, Certain Sir William||Mitchell, Sir William Lane||Williams, C. (Tavistock)|
|Edwards. Major J. (Aberavon)||Molson, Major John Eisdale||Wills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.|
|Edwards, Hug h (Glam.. Neath)||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Winterton, Earl|
|Elliott, Lt.-Col. Sir G. (Islington, W.)||Morden, Col. W. Grant||Wise, Frederick|
|Elveden, Viscount||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Wood. Major Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Evans, Ernest||Morrison, Hugh||Worsfold, T. Cato|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Murchison, C. K.||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Murray, Rt. Hon. C. D. (Edinburgh)|
|Ganzonl. Sir John||Neal, Arthur|
TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
|Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis D.||Entwistle, Major C. F.||Hayward, Evan|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Foot, Isaac||Hogge, James Myles|
|Banton, George||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||John, William (Rhondda, West)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Gretton, Colonel John||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Heyday, Arthur||Kenworthy, Lieut.-commander J. M.|
others 27s. weekly? Also, why does this girl messenger receive 35s. 6d. a week inclusive, while the labourer, who may be a married man with a family, only gets 27s. with a possible advance of 1s.? I should like—
rose in, hi8 place, and claimed to move "That the Question be now put."
Question put, "That the Question be now put."
The Committee divided: Ayes, 156; Noes, 23.
|Malone, C. L. (Leyton, E.)||Poison, Sir Thomas A.|
TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
|Myers, Thomas||Sueter, Rear-Admiral M array Fraser||Major Barnes and Dr, Murray.|
|Newbould, Alfred Ernest||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|O'Connor, Thomas P.||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.|
Original Question put accordingly.
Division No. 194.]
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Neal, Arthur|
|Baird, Sir John Lawrence||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Gould, James C.||Newson, Sir Percy Wilson|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Sir Hamar||Parker, James|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Grenfell Edward Charles||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry|
|Barrand, A. R.||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.||Perkins, Waiter Frank|
|Bartley-Denniss, Sir Edmund Robert||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray|
|Cell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Preston, Sir W. R.|
|Bean, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Purchase, H. G.|
|Benn, Capt. Sir I. H., Bart. (Gr'nw'h)||Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)||Ramer, J. R.|
|Birchall, J. Dearman||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Hinds, John||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)|
|Bird, Sir William B. M. (Chichester)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Hood, Sir Joseph||Roundel!, Colonel R. F.|
|Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-||Hopkins, John W. W.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Hurd, Percy A.||Seddon, J. A.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Jephcott, A. R.||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)|
|Bruton, Sir James||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Johnson, Sir Stanley||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Burdon, Colonel Rowland||Johnstone, Joseph||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Carr, W. Theodore||Kellaway, Rt Hon. Fredk George||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Casey, T. W.||Kenyon, Barnet||Sugdee. W. H.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||King. Captain Henry Douglas||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Child, Brigadier-General Sir Hill||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Sykes, Sir Charles (Huddersfield)|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)||Taylor, J.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Lindsay, William Arthur||Terrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham)|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Lloyd, George Butler||Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)|
|Coote, Colin Relth (isle of Ely)||Lort-Williams, J.||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||Loseby, Captain C. E.||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)||Lyle, C. E. Leonard||Vickers. Douglas|
|Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)||Lyle-Samuel, Alexander||Waddington, R.|
|Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.||Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Waring, Major Walter|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Manville, Edward||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Marriott, John Arthur Ransoms||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Edge, Captain Sir William||Mason. Robert||Williams, C. (Tavistock)|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Mitchell, Sir William Lane||Wills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.|
|Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath)||Moison, Major John Elsdale||Winterton, Earl|
|Elliott, Lt.-Col. Sir G. (Islington, W.)||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Wise, Frederick|
|Elveden, Viscount||Morden, Col. W. Grant||Wood, Major Sir S. Hill. (High Peak)|
|Evans, Ernest||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Worsfold, T. Cato|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Morrison, Hugh||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Murchison, C. K.|
TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Murray, Rt. Hon. C. D. (Edinburgh)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis D.||Hayday, Arthur||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Hogge, James Myles||Rose, Frank H.|
|Banton, George||John. William (Rhondda, West)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Malone, C. L. (Leyton, E.)|
TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)||Mr. T. Thomson and Major|
|Foot, Isaac||Myers, Thomas||Entwistle.|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Newbould, Alfred Ernest|
Resolution to be reported upon Monday next.
Committee to sit again To-morrow.
The Committee divided: Ayes, 153; Noes, 22.
The remaining orders were read, and postponed